Our mission is to serve all undocumented students at Cal State L.A. and the community with information and resources to promote college admissions, persistence, graduation, graduate school, and professional careers. We provide student support services that create a welcoming and supportive environment, enhance the university experience, build leadership skills, and promote civic and community engagement.
Our vision is to create partnerships, alliances, and relationships will students, staff, faculty, administrators, and community members. We recognize and honor the hard work of undocumented students and their allies in advocating for equity in higher education.
- California Dream Act Information and Assistance
- Scholarship Resources for Dreamers
- Deferred Action (DACA) Information and Referrals
- Workshops, Programs, and Student Support Group
- Academic and Career Advising
- Peer Mentor Advisors
- Math Tutoring
- Student Organization Support (Students United to Reach Goals in Education- SURGE, and Pre-Health Dreamers PHD)
- Campus and Community Partnerships and Advocacy
- Staff and Faculty Allies Training
- Study Lounge and Computer Access
- Safe and Supportive Environment
WHAT IS AB540?
On October 12, 2001, Governor Gray Davis signed into law Assembly Bill 540 authored by the late Assemblyman Marco Antonio Firebaugh. The law added a new section to the California Education Code that created a new exemption from the payment of nonresident tuition for certain nonresident students who have attended high school in California and received a high school diploma or its equivalent. [Education Code section 68130.5]
- Who qualifies?
You are an AB 540 student, and exempt from paying non-resident enrollment fees, if you meet all of the following criteria:
- Attended a California high school for at least three years;
- Graduated from a California high school, got a GED or passed the California High School Proficiency Exam;
- Are registered or enrolled at a California community college; AND
- If required, complete an affidavit saying you have filed (or will file when you are eligible to do so) for legal immigration status.
AB 540 students may be:
- Students who are U.S. citizens, but who are not CA residents
- Students who are undocumented
AB 540 students are not:
- Students with a non-immigrant Visa status (U-Visa and 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"
*New AB540 Students
Before enrolling, in order to be considered AB540 and eligible for the CA Dream Act, students must complete, sign and submit the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request to the Admissions Office. Official High School transcripts must be attached to the request in order to determine eligibility.
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 student graduates early, they must have attended CA elementary or secondary schools for a cumulative total of 3 or more years.
CALIFORNIA DREAM ACT
- What is the California Dream Act?
The California Dream Act allows eligible undocumented student to receive California State sponsored financial aid. Authored by Assembly Member Gil Cedillo (Los Angeles), it became law in 2011 through the passage of two Assembly Bills, AB 130 and AB 131.
AB 130 allows students who meet AB 540 criteria (California Education Code 68130.5(a)) to apply for and receive non-state funded scholarships for public colleges and universities.
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.
- Who qualifies?
The California Dream Act allows certain students who meet the requirements to apply for and receive state financial aid at California public and private colleges and private scholarships administered by California public colleges.
- Available Aid from the California Dream Act
- Cal Grant
- Chafee Grant
- Middle Class Scholarship
- UC Grants
- State University Grants
- California Community College (CCC) BOG Fee Waiver
- Some University scholarships
- Some private scholarships administered by campuses
The application deadline for all Dreamer Cal Grants and most of the other aid listed above is March 2.
Dreamer Cal Grants include:
- High School Entitlement Cal Grant A & B
- CCC Transfer Entitlement Cal Grant A & B
- Cal Grant C
(Dreamers are not eligible to receive Competitive Cal Grants.)
You must meet the application deadline and all applicable eligibility requirements to qualify for any financial aid listed above.
Get help on your application at a Cash for College workshop in your area.
Where can I go to find out about scholarships for undocumented students?
- For Cal State L.A. scholarships, visit http://www.calstatela.edu/financialaid/scholarships for current applications. You may also visit the following websites: www.e4fc.org or www.maldef.org or www.salef.org . These sites provide a list of scholarships that do not require you to be a US citizen or a legal permanent resident, and do not ask for a social security number.
- The Dreamers Resource Center provides a list of scholarships to students.
UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS FAQs
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.
If I am undocumented, can I receive financial aid?
As an undocumented student, you may currently qualify for state financial aid. The California Dream Act, divided into AB 130 and AB 131, provides access to private funding in the form of scholarships and state aid, specifically the California Cal Grant, for those who qualify
What does Non-Immigrant mean?
- Students with current nonimmigrant visas are not eligible for this tuition exemption (exp. Tourist (F Visa) or student (B Visa).
- A student whose visa has expired and is now “out of status,” will be eligible for in-state tuition fees if they meet their state undocumented stated requirements.
- Students categorized as AB 540 (undocumented) will not be classified as California residents.
- A student with “any” legal status is not considered undocumented.
What are AB540 facts?
- AB540 does not apply to private colleges or universities, unless they decide to abide the set requirements.
- AB540 does not grant legal residency to qualifying students.
- AB540 does not grant state or federal financial aid.
- AB540 only provides an exemption to the requirements of paying nonresident tuition for students who qualify.
What are the AB 540 requirements?
- Student must have attended a high school in California for three years or more.
- Student must have graduated from a California High School or attained the equivalent of a high school diploma (i.e. Passed the GED or CA High School Proficiency Exam).
- Student must register or be currently enrolled in one of the three state institutions of higher learning (UC, CSU, Community Colleges).
- Student without Immigration status must file an affidavit with the public college or university stating that he or she has applied to legalize his or her legal status or will do so as soon as he or she is eligible to do so. (Some private schools may also require this, not enforced)
- All information provided by the student will be kept confidential by the college or university.
Does filing an AB 540 affidavit impact my California Legal Residency?
AB 540 does NOT establish legal residency for immigrant students or for undocumented students who are eligible for AB 540. It only exempts students from paying non-resident fees. Undocumented students who have questions about their legal residency should consult an immigration attorney.
Is My Information Private?
The information a student shares with a college or university is protected by federal law and CANNOT be shared with anyone, including immigration officials. It is protected by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974. The school legally cannot share this information with third parties including the Department of Immigration and Naturalization (INS), now the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Also, not all AB 540 students are undocumented. Many are legal residents. AB 540 forms are worded in a way so as to protect undocumented students from having to declare their status (they are grouped with US citizens and permanent residents). The affidavit says “IF” they are an “alien without lawful immigration status,” then they will pursue a means to change their immigration status when it becomes available.
What is the Affidavit?
- The affidavit states that the student will adjust their status, as soon as they are eligible to do so.
- The affidavit is required by example at end of document law by the public college where the students will be attending.
- Students are not required to submit a new affidavit when there is continuous enrollment.
- The information on the affidavit is kept confidential, as required by law.
Please click here for the Affidavit, also known as the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request.
What are the differences between the California Dream Act and the Federal Dream Act?
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.
Where do I go to fill out the Dream Act Application?
Students can fill out the Dream Act Application at the following link: https://dream.csac.ca.gov/ ·
DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS (DACA) INFORMATION
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.
Only individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these guidelines will be considered for deferred action. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis under the guidelines set forth in the Secretary of Homeland Security’s memorandum.
For information and eligibility requirements, visit the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) site. Source: USCIS.GOV
STUDENT SUPPORT GROUPS
Students United to Reach Goals in Education is a student organization founded at California State University, Los Angeles on the principle of promoting higher education among both high school and college students regardless of legal status. Its mission is to encourage and increase the number of students attending and graduating from institutions of higher education through community involvement, scholarships and political activism and advocacy.
About SURGE at Cal State L.A
- A support network for undocumented students and allies at Cal State L.A.
-We share our day to day experiences, struggles, and successes with each other.
- We provide each other with academic support and information about financial resources.
-Undocumented students are unique, and they need different resources than regular students.
- A politically active student organization that advocates for legislation that empowers immigrant communities.
Membership is not limited to Undocumented Students. All interested students are invited to join and encouraged to participate. For further information, visit the Club's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SURGE.CSULA
Club Advisors Luz Borjon and Frank Cornelio can be contacted via email.
Luz Borjon: LBorjon@calstatela.edu
Frank Cornelio: FCornelio@calstatela.edu
PRE HEALTH DREAMERS (PHD)
Pre-Health Dreamers was started in 2012 by three undocumented college students who were actively pursuing careers in health and science. In 2013, PHD became a project of E4FC. In 2015 a group of dedicated Cal State L.A. students became the first university students to start a chapter of PHD.
PHD supports undocumented young people by serving as: 1) a trusted community of undocumented students, 2) a resource of unprecedented knowledge on related career pathways, and 3) an advocate for increased access to health careers and health care for the undocumented community. In just three years, PHD has made considerable progress in making health professions programs more accessible to undocumented young people.
For more information about PHD, click here to follow and like Cal State L.A. Pre Health Dreamers Chapter on Facebook.
Club Advisor Luz Borjon can be contacted via email.
Luz Borjon: LBorjon@calstatela.edu
Admissions and Recruitment www.calstatela.edu/admissions
Financial Aid www.calstatela.edu/financialaid
Cost of Attendance www.calstatela.edu/financialaid/cost-attendance
Student Financial Services www.calstatela.edu/sfinserv
National & International Scholarships and Fellowships Program www.calstatela.edu/nisfep
Educational Opportunity Program www.calstatela.edu/eop
University Academic Advisement Center www.calstatela.edu/academicadvisementcenter
Honors College www.calstatela.edu/honorscollege
Career Development Center www.calstatela.edu/univ/cdc
Cross Cultural Centers www.calstatelausu.org/ccc
University Registrar www.calstatela.edu/registrar
Transportation Services www.calstatela.edu/police/transportation-services
STAFF AND CONTACT INFORMATION
Luz Borjon Montalvo, Coordinator.
Phone: (323) 343-4367
Location: Student Affairs Building, Room 214.
There are also Peer Mentor Advisors and Interns available for assistance.
Please visit the Cal State L.A. Dreamers Resource Center Facebook page to follow and like us at www.facebook.com/LADreamersResourceCenter