About AB 540
Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540), was signed into law in October 2001. It allows eligible undocumented, legal permanent resident and U.S. citizen students to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities if they meet the criteria to below.
You Qualify if...
- You attended a high school (public or private) in California for 3 or more years.
- The student must have graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent prior to the start of the term (for example, passing the GED or California High School Proficiency exam).
- A student who is without lawful immigration status must file an affidavit with the college or university stating that he or she has filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status, or will file an application as soon as he or she is eligible to do so.
- At SAC, this affidavit is submitted to the Admissions & Records office, but students transferring to a different college or university should check with the institution to verify their procedure.
Please see our Admissions Office to determine if you are AB540 eligible.
In additon to AB 540... What is AB 2000 / SB 68 and the California Dream Act
Assembly Bill 2000 (AB 2000) passed in 2014. This is an expansion of AB540. It increases the scope of student eligibility for students who graduated early from a California High School with the equivalent of three or more years of credits. If a student graduates early, they must have attended CA elementary or secondary schools for a cumulative total of 3 or more years. It allows students meeting the criteria below to pay in-state tuition, the same as resident students.
Senate Bill 68 (SB 68) passed in 2017. This public postsecondary education exemption from nonresident tuition was approved by the governor and filed with the Secretary of State on October 5, 2017. This legislation amended Education Code, section 68130.5, changing the criteria for students eligible for a nonresident tuition exemption, as previously defined in Assembly Bill 540 (2001). Senate Bill 68 expands the requirements of AB 540/ AB 2000 to include attendance at California Community Colleges and attainment of an associate's degree.
The California Dream Act (Assembly Bills 130 and 131) were signed into law in 2011. Together these bills compose the California Dream Act and give AB 540 / AB 2000 students the right to apply for state financial aid, including Cal Grant A & B Entitlement awards, Cal Grant C awards, institutional grants and community college fee waivers.
Financial Aid-The California Dream Act
The California Dream Act allows eligible AB 540 students to apply for financial aid. For more information and for free, one-on-one assistance in beginning the application process, visit the California Community Colleges icanaffordcollege.com website, which is available in English, Spanish and traditional Chinese.
If you are an eligible AB 540 student you can also apply for the California College Promise Grant Application (formerly known as the BOG Fee Waiver Application), which would cover your tuition fees. You can access the application online or go to SAC's Financial Aid Office to fill out the paper application.
For more information, please connect with SAC's Financial Aid Office.
Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
DACA was an executive order signed by President Obama in 2012. As of 2017, nearly 800,000 young persons “are DACA.” DACA required, in part, disclosure of an address and other background information.
The benefits included “deferred action” and a work permit (EAD). “Deferred action” means that the government would not seek to deport you. Work permits provided the opportunity for individuals to have legal authorization to work.
On Sept. 5, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiated the orderly phase out of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DHS will provide a limited, six-month window during which it will consider certain requests for DACA and applications for work authorization, under specific parameters. Read the memorandum from Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke for details.
Individuals who currently have DACA will be allowed to retain both DACA and their work authorizations (EADs) until they expire. If your permit expires before March 5, 2018 you have until October 5, 2017 to apply for a renewal.
DACA is NOT the same as AB 540 or the California Dream Act. However, DACA students are entitled to the same benefits as AB 540 students. Students who qualify for in-state tuition under AB 540 or benefits under the Ca Dream Act will continue to do so.
Santa Ana College is also one of the safest places to be for undocumented immigrants. This is because ICE is directed to avoid sensitive places, like schools and churches, when they enforce immigration law.
"The Rancho Santiago Community College District, Santa Ana College, and Santiago Canyon College remain deeply committed to each and every one of our students and to creating a safe and secure educational environment. Our message to students who may be DACA students or otherwise undocumented students is for them to stay enrolled in school. We intend to stand by their side and we will make every effort to lobby Congress to pass legislation to save DACA or to create a viable alternative."
- Chancellor's Office Message on DACA