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FAQS

Q: If I am undocumented can I go to college? 
Q: When should I apply? 
Q: How do I qualify to pay in-state tuition? 
Q: Is there any type of aid to pay for school if I am an AB 540 student?
Q. What are the differences between the California Dream Act and the Federal Dream Act? 
Q. Does the Federal Dream Act benefit our society as a whole, and if so, how? 
Q. How does AB 130 work? 
Q. What are the benefits of AB 131? 
Q: Do all AB 540 students need to fill out the Dream Application? 
Q. What are my legal options? 
Q. What is the "Deferred Action" recently announced by President Obama? 
Q. Will I be able to use my degree upon school completion? 
Q. Can I travel in the United States to present at a conference? 
Q: Is the AB 540 information I provide confidential? 
Q: Is there anyone I can contact for more information?

 

Q: If I am undocumented can I go to college?

A: YES, if you are an undocumented student you can go to any college or university in California as long as you meet the requirements and are admitted/accepted.  To avoid paying out-of-state tuition, you need to meet the AB 540 eligibility requirements.  To review these requirement, please visit our requirement page.

Q: When should I apply?

A: For the Cal State University system, October 1 – November 30 is the filing period for the Fall term, and August 1 – 31 is the filing period for the Spring semester.  Cal State Fullerton accepts applications from first time freshman only during the Fall filing period.  Upper division transfer students who meet CSUF admissions requirements are eligible to apply for the Fall or Spring semester. Please refer to this sample application as a guide to help you determine AB 540 residency status when filling out your on-line CSUMentor application.

Q:  How do I qualify to pay in-state tuition?

A: In order to qualify for in-state tuition (at a public California college or university) under AB 540, you must have completed three years of high school in California and graduated, attained a GED, or received a passing mark on the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE).  You must also complete an AB 540 affidavit (California Non-Resident Tuition Exemption form) at the college/university that you will attend stating that you meet AB 540 eligibility requirements.  Each school has different procedures for completing the AB 540 affidavit, please contact the admissions/registrar's office of the college/university for additional information.

Q. Is there any type of aid to pay for school if I am an AB 540 student?

A: Yes, AB 540 students may receive some type of aid to pay for school. State grants may be provided after you submit your Dream Application through the California Student Aid Commission. State University Grants (SUG) may also available for AB 540 students as determined by the Office of Financial Aid. Other university and community college aid such as EOP, EOPS, and Board of Governors Fee Waiver is also accessible. Last, students must apply for scholarships to bring more funds at their disposal.

Q. What are the differences between the California Dream Act and the Federal Dream Act?

A: The California Dream Act occurs at the state level. The passage of AB 130 and AB 131 by Governor Brown made The California Dream Act of 2011 an effective law in the state. The law at the state level allows certain undocumented students to apply and receive state financial aid and receive scholarships funded through private donors. On the other hand, the Federal Dream Act seeks to bring conditional residency for qualifying undocumented individuals. Although not yet passed by the United States congress, some of the stipulations concerning the Federal Dream Act will require applicants to be of good moral character, have graduated from high school, be currently enrolled or completed two years of college or university, and/or have enlisted in the US army for at least two years. 

Q. How will the Federal DREAM Act contribute to our country's well-being?

A. The Federal DREAM Act will provide thousands of individuals an opportunity to contribute to our country's well-being by pursuing a higher education or serving in the United States armed forces.  Once the DREAM Act is enacted, it can benefit our economy, our security, and our nation. 

Q. How does AB 130 work?

A: AB 130 brings scholarship money given by individual donors, departmental efforts, and alumni contributors to all deserving students. AB 130 allows financial aid to disburse the scholarship money in the event that you win any of the previously mentioned awards. It was difficult in the past to award AB 540 students any additional scholarship money due to legal accountability taxable money. Consequently, AB 130 neither gives you a social security number nor asks for one when you try to apply for some scholarships. In many cases, an Individual Taxable Identification Number (ITIN) must be used instead of a social security number. Refer to the scholarship requirements or contact the donor for detailed criteria.

Q. What are the benefits of AB 131?

A: AB 131 is the second component of the California Dream Act effective since January 2013. The stipulation regarding the benefits of AB 131 must be carefully evaluated according to each particular student case. For instance, if you are a senior high school AB 540 student, you may qualify for state financial aid and institutional grants such as EOP, EOPS, or Board of Governors fee waivers. On the other hand, if you already attend a university, you may only qualify for an institutional grant (EOP) and institutional aid depending on availability. You must contact your EOP counselor or financial aid adviser to seek funds. Lastly, if you are enrolled in a community college, you also may qualify for state aid and institutional grants. A simple rule to remember is that more aid is available for those students who are yet to enter community colleges and who have not received their first Bachelor's degree from a university. However, all students must turn in a Dream Application to determine current need, school level, and available aid.

Q. Do all AB 540 students need to fill out the Dream Application?

A: Yes, it is recommended that you fill out the Dream Application if you are an eligible AB 540 student. If you are a graduate student, you may still qualify for a State University Grant (SUG). The Dream Application allows universities and community colleges to determine the number of recipients against available funds.

Q. What are my legal options?

A: It is important that you have the name and contact information of an attorney at all times. If you become detained and Immigration and Customs Enforcement asks you to show a valid proof of identification, you have the right to speak to a lawyer. Never sign any documentation that may put you at risk of deportation before you exercise that right. Always know your alternatives before running into last minute choices and decisions.

Q. What is the "Deferred Action" recently announced by President Obama?

A: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grants certain undocumented youth a work permit for two (2) years and stops the deportation of students who meet certain requirements such as: students that arrived in the US whileunder the age of sixteen; those who have continuously resided in the US for five years prior to June 15, 2012; and also requires that students be enrolled in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general educational development certificate or are honorably discharged veterans of the Guard Coast or Armed Forces of the US. Additional requirements must be met and further details can be found *HERE.

Q. Will I be able to use my degree upon school completion?

A: It is important that you consider your alternatives before pursuing a career. Many AB 540 students express this as their biggest challenge upon school completion. State licensing and federal background checks places AB 540 students into a disadvantage as their identity will not match any agency record. Some AB 540 students assimilate the career objectives to related fields or seek equal opportunities in countries that welcome their potential.

Q. Can I travel in the United States to present at a conference?

A: Students need to gain experience, and presenting at conferences is important. Presenting at local universities and colleges should also give you exposure. It is recommended that you have your current passport and school identification if you choose to visit another state. Under the "Deferred Action" conditional program, some AB 540 students may now find themselves exploring the true values of education.        

Q. Is the AB 540 information I provide confidential?

A: Yes, your privacy is important and the information you provide is confidential. The records you disclose in your Dream Application and Affidavit are for university purposes only. Please refer to the FERPA Act to know more about your privacy rights including name, address, phone, and migratory status.

Q. Is there anyone I can contact for more information?

A: Yes, you may e-mail any questions to Norma Leon at nleon@csupomona.edu.  You can also set up an appointment over the phone (909) 869-3227.

*Courtesy of Dr. Elena Macias, Special Assistant to the President, Government, Legislative, Community Relations CSULB.