FAFSA School Code: 001146

Ca. Non–Resident Tuition Exemption (AB 540)

Non-Residents including Undocumented Students

According to state law entitled Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540), some California non-residents may pay in-state fees. This law aids students who are California high school graduates, including undocumented students. Although undocumented students are not eligible for federal financial aid, they can benefit by paying in-state tuition. AB 540 authorizes any student, including undocumented students who meet specific criteria, to pay in-state tuition at California’s public colleges and universities. This makes the Cost of Attendance at CSU, Chico more affordable for immigrant and returning students.

Any student who meets the following AB 540 eligibility requirements shall be exempt from paying non-resident tuition at all public colleges and universities in California.

California Dream Act of 2011

The California Dream Act of 2011 is the result of two bills, Assembly Bill 130 (AB 130) and Assembly Bill 131 (AB 131).  Together, these bills allow undocumented and documented students who meet certain provisions of AB 540 law (see below) to apply for and receive private scholarships funneled through public universities (AB 130).  Students may be eligible for state-administered financial aid, university grants, and community college fee waivers (AB 131).  For detailed information view http://www.csac.ca.gov/dream_act.asp.

AB 540 Eligibility Requirements

To qualify, a student must meet all the following requirements:

  • Attend a California high school for three or more years
  • Graduate from a California high school or receive the equivalent General Education Diploma (GED)
  • Register as an entering student or be currently enrolled in a California Community College, California State University, or a University of California
  • In the case of a person without lawful immigration status, sign a statement with the college or university (not with INS) stating that he or she has filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status, or will apply for legal residency as soon as they are eligible to do so. (This requirement does not apply to those with legal residency.)


  • All information provided by the student will be kept confidential by the University.
  • AB 540 only provides an exemption to the requirement to pay non-resident fees at California public colleges and universities. The law does not provide any immigration benefits.
  • Students with current non-immigrant visas (example: tourist or student visas) are not eligible for this fee exemption. Non-immigrant students, as defined by federal immigration law, may hold one of the following visas: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, TN, TD, and V, and TROV and NATO.

How to Apply for Admission and for AB 540 Exemption

For a California State University (CSU):

  • Apply for admission to the CSU through CSUMentor.
  • After you have been admitted, submit a California Non-Resident Tuition Exemption Request (PDF) to the office of admissions at the institution you will be attending.
  • As an admitted student, you will be required to submit high school transcripts and appropriate records of high school graduation or the equivalent.

What financial assistance is available to AB540 students?


AB131 allows students who meet AB540 criteria to apply for and receive state-funded financial aid such as institutional grants, community college fee waivers, Cal Grant and Chafee Grant.  

How do I apply?

To apply for the programs available under AB131, you will use the Dream Application. The Dream Application will collect basic personal and income information to determine student eligibility for funding under AB131. The application becomes available in January.

A Dream Application must be submitted every year to determine eligibility for state and institutional aid.  Students will need to complete and submit CSU, Chico AB540 Affidavit (California Non-Resident Tuition Exemption Request form) in order to begin a review of your eligibility.

Deadline for priority consideration for Fall 2016/Spring 2017 funding: March 2, 2016.

To access the Dream Application materials for the 2016/17 academic year, click the link below:

California Online Dream Act Application


The Dream Student Resources website was created as a resource for Dream Students (undocumented/AB 540 students) at California State University, Chico. The content is designed to provide answers to frequently asked questions and to provide a support network for Dream Students.


Scholarships do not have to be repaid, and are funded from a variety of sources including community organizations, local and national foundations, state and federal government agencies, and private donors. Consult the following organizations and ask a school counselor for referrals.

Eligible AB 540 students should apply for private scholarships that do not require legal permanent residency, social security number, or U.S. citizenship. Please note that all scholarship programs have specific eligibility requirements and deadlines. Read and follow directions carefully.

Private Scholarship Resources:

You will find further sources for private scholarships and tips on how to use scholarship database searches at External Scholarships on our Web site.

CSU, Chico Scholarships

California State University, Chico provides scholarship awards to eligible students, and students are encouraged to apply. See CSU, Chico Scholarships for more information.

California Dream Loan

California Dream Loan is a subsidized loan program for undergraduate students with a valid California Dream Act application and a valid AB540 affidavit on file with their University.

The California Dream Loan is borrowed money you must repay with interest. The interest rate for 2016-17 is 3.76%. The interest rate for the California Dream Loan corresponds with the interest rate on Federal Direct Subsidized loans and is subject to change annually. The California Dream Loan does not accrue interest while you are enrolled at least half-time, during periods of approved deferment, and during the 6-month grace period before you enter repayment. You will be responsible for the interest charged at all other times.

California Dream Loans are set-up to be repaid in monthly installments over a 10-year period and have a minimum payment of $50 a month. You can pay off your loan earlier without penalty. You begin repaying your loan at the end of a 6-month grace period. The grace period begins once you graduate, leave school, or enroll less than half-time.

If you are offered a California Dream Loan, you must accept it within 30 days of the offered dated. To accept your California Dream Loan, you must log in to your student portal and the Student Services Center and accept the loan offer. You may decline the loan offer or accept less than what is offered to you, but funds are limited and you may not be able to increase your loan at a later time. Students who accept the California Dream loan must complete a promissory note and entrance counseling. These items will show on your To-Do-List in the Student Services Center. If you fail to complete all the required To-Do-List by the assigned deadline, your California Dream Loan will be cancelled. Funds are limited and you may not be awarded the funds again at a later date.

Receipt of funds in one year does not guarantee availability or receipt of funds in subsequent years.

Please note: all financial aid recipients, including California Dream Loan borrowers, must meet basic eligibility criteria. For example a student must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress, cannot be in default on a student loan, must have a valid AB540 affidavit on file, and more.