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Undocumented Students FAQs

Higher Education for Undocumented Students

  • If I am undocumented, can I go to college?

    •  Yes, you can go to any college or university in California, if you meet the admissions requirements.
    • You cannot be denied admission based on your immigration status to any state schools in California.
    • You can pay in-state tuition if you meet the criteria for state law AB 540 and qualify for state financial aid through the California Dream Act.
  • What is AB-540?

    AB-540 status exempts students from paying out-of-state tuition fees.

    Latest version of CSU Nonresident Tuition Exemption Form 

    AB-540 students may be:

    • Students who are U.S. citizens, but who are not CA residents
    • Students who are undocumented that meet elgibility criteria
    • Lawfully present immigrants
    • T and U visa holders 

    AB-540 students are not:

    • Students with a non-immigrant Visa status (victims of sex trafficking may be eligible for AB 540 status)
    • Students "home-schooled" by a parent who does not hold a CA teacher credential
    • Students living out-of-state and enrolling in a private California "internet high school"
  • What is AB 2000?

     Expands AB 540 to include students who graduate early from high school with 3 years or High School credit. If a student graduates early, they must have attended CA elementary or secondary schools for a cumulative total of 3 or more years.

Financial Aid for Undocumented Students in CA

  • What is the California Dream Act?

    The California Dream Act allows eligible undocumented student to receive California State sponsored financial aid. Undocumented students are not elgible for FAFSA but are elgible for the CA Dream Act. 

    *** California Dream Act does not require DACA

    Two types of CA Dream Acts:

    CA Dream Act (AB 130) allows students who meet AB 540 criteria to apply for and receive non-state funded scholarships for public colleges and universities.

    CA Dream Act (AB 131) allows students who meet AB 540 criteria to apply for and receive state-funded financial aid such as institutional grants, community college fee waivers, Cal Grant and Chafee Grant.

  • How can I apply to the CA Dream Act?

     To apply to the CA Dream Act submit an application by March 2nd. Applications for the next academic year open October 1st. Vist https://dream.csac.ca.gov/ to start or continue your application.
  • Where can I go to find out about scholarships for undocumented students?

    The DREAMer Resource Office team has researched and compiled a list of the most recent scholarships opened to undocumented students pursuing higher education. Please visit the office for more information or visit the link below to be directed to our scholarship guide.

    Scholarship Guide  


DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)

  • What is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?

    On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several key guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization and a valid Social Security Number.

    On September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration announced that the DACA program would be rescinded and no new applications would be approved. 

    On January 9, 2018, a federal judge issued an injunction that temporarily stopped the Department of Homeland Security from proceeding with the termination of the DACA program.

  • How can I apply/renew my DACA?

    Currently, people who have never had DACA are not eligible to submit a DACA application. Only those who had DACA at some point may submit a renewal application. 

    You may request a renewal if you met the initial 2012 DACA guidelines and you:

    • Did not depart the United States on or after Aug. 15, 2012, without advance parole;
    • Have continuously resided in the United States since you submitted your most recent DACA request that was approved; and
    • Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

    CSUSM DREAMer Resource Office provides free legal services that help students and loved ones renew their DACA application, please visit the resource office to make an appointment. For more information about the renewal process and when to renew, visit the Renew Your DACA site.