Under Assembly Bill 540 (AB540), you may be exempt from paying non-resident tuition. Governor Davis signed Assembly Bill 540 into law on October 12, 2001 and it became effective as of January 1, 2002.  California Education code 68130.5 creates a new exemption from payment of non-resident tuition.

Any student, other than a nonimmigrant alien, who meets all of the following requirements, shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California Community Colleges, the University of California, and the California State University (all public colleges and universities in California).


  • The student must have attended a high school (public or private) in California for three 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).
  • An alien 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. 
  • Students who are nonimmigrants [for example, those who hold F (student) visas, B (visitor) visas, etc.] are not eligible for this exemption. 
  • The student must file an exemption request including a signed affidavit with the college that indicates the student has met all applicable conditions described above.  Student information obtained in this process is strictly confidential unless disclosure is required under law.
  • Students eligible for this exemption who are transferring to another California public college or university must submit a new request (and documentation if required) to each college under consideration.
  • Nonresident students meeting the criteria will be exempted from the payment of nonresident tuition, but they will not be classified as California residents.  They continue to be “nonresidents.” 
  • AB540 does not provide student financial aid eligibility for undocumented alien students.  These students remain ineligible for state and federal financial aid.


California Dream Act  

The California Dream Act of 2011, authored by Assembly Member Gil Cedillo (Los Angeles), became law through the passage of two Assembly Bills, AB 130 and AB 131.

AB 130 allows students who meet AB540 criteria to apply for and received non-state funded scholarships for public colleges and universities.

AB 131 allows students who meet AB540 criteria to apply for and receive state-funded financial aid such as institutional grants, community colleges fee waivers, Cal Grant and Chafee Grant.

For more information regarding the California Dream Act, please visit the Financial Aid website.