AB 540 and nonresident students
What is AB 540?
AB 540 refers to Assembly Bill 540. This is a law that passed the legislature in 2001 and exempts eligible California high school graduates from paying the non-resident tuition fees at any public California Community College, California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC). This law went into effect in January 2002.
Eligible students only pay $46 per unit at any California Community College.
Who Qualifies for AB 540?
To qualify for AB 540, students must be:
- U.S. Citizens: natural born or naturalized,
- Legal Permanent Residents, OR
- Undocumented Immigrants
* Nonimmigrant students such as visitors (B visas) or foreign students (F visas) do NOT qualify for AB 540
In addition, students must:
- Have attended a high school in California for three years or more
- Have graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent (for example, the High School Equivalency Certificate) prior to the start of the term
- File an affidavit (CA Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request) stating they meet the requirements and have applied or will apply for legal residency as soon as they are eligible to do so. This affidavit is kept confidential by the college/university and by law is not to be shared
with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (formerly INS)
Do AB 540 Students Qualify for Financial Aid?
Starting on January 1, 2013, the California Dream Act extends Cal Grant A & B Entitlement awards, Cal Grant C awards, institutional grants, and community college fee waivers to students that meet the AB540 criteria. Please click here to read more [PDF].
AB 540 Facts
- AB 540 does not apply to private colleges and universities
- AB 540 does not grant legal residency to qualifying students
- AB 540 does not grant federal financial aid eligibility
AB 540 only provides an exemption to the requirements to pay nonresident tuition
Starting with the summer 2009 undocumented students who do NOT qualify for the AB 540 tuition exemption shall be entitled to exemption from nonresident fees on the basis of individual financial need in accordance with regulations adopted by the Chancellor (LACCD Board Rule 8100.15). If the students meet the eligibility requirements on the Nonresident Tuition Fee Waiver (available in the office of Admissions and Records, Financial Aid and Bridges to Success), they may be eligible to receive a nonresident tuition exemption and ONLY pay the current enrollment fee of $46 per unit. Undocumented students who do not qualify for the AB 540 exemption do not qualify for state or federal financial aid.