What is AB540?
Signed into law in October 2001, California Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540) is a bill that provides an exemption to the requirement to pay nonresident tuition. It was later adopted by the California Community Colleges (CCC) the California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) systems.
Any student who meets the specific requirements is exempt from paying nonresident tuition at all public colleges and universities in California.
What are the requirements?
The student must have attended a high school (public or private) in California for three or more years AND
The student must have graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent prior to the start of the semester term (for example, passing the GED High School Equivalency Certificate issued by the California State GED Office or Certificate of Proficiency, resulting from the California High School Proficiency Examination).
An undocumented 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, M, J visas, etc.) are not eligible for this exemption. However, effective January 1st, 2013, nonimmigrant students holding an approved “T” or “U” visas are now eligible for AB 540 exemption. “T” & “U” visa holders must still attend a California high school for at least 3 or more years and graduate or attained a California Certificate of Equivalency (GED) or California Certificate of Proficiency.
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”.
Undocumented students will not be eligible for federal financial aid. However, beginning January 1, 2013, undocumented students eligible for the AB 540 may now apply for financial aid eligibility under the California Dream Act of 2011.
This exemption is not available for persons who are absent from California, but who are taking distance education classes from California community colleges. The exemption can only be granted to students who are in California while taking classes.
WHAT ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE TO AB540 STUDENTS?
For a complete listing of scholarships, please refer to: http://scholarships.santarosa.edu/
On January 1, 2013 AB 131 allows students who qualify under the AB540 to apply for and receive state-funded financial aid such as institutional grants, community college fee waivers, Cal Grant and Chafee Grant.
Students may be selected for institutional verification of their application data. This will require the student to submit verification documents, such as information on household size, number in college, income verification, selective service verification for males, etc.
Assembly Bill (AB) 2000 and Dream Act Application
Beginning January 1, 2015 AB 2000 amends the school attendance requirement of AB 540 and designates that if a student has not attended a California High School for at least three years, that portion of the eligibility criteria may be replaced by the following:
- Attainment of three years’ worth of high school credits from a California High School (equivalent to 3 or more years of full-time high school coursework), and
- A total of 3 or more years of attendance in California elementary or secondary schools, or a combination of those schools (the years do not have to be sequential).
Forms & Resources:
AB 540 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Where is the AB 540 California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request available on the SRJC website?
The form is located under Admissions & Records Forms. Also, the AB 540 is available at all public colleges or universities.
What type of information is asked on the AB 540 California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request?
You will need to provide information such as:
if you graduated, if you had 3 or more years of high school attendance in CA,
the name of the California High School you attended,
the dates of attendance,
the student’s name, address,
your citizenship, your SRJC ID number and signature.
by signing the AB 540 form, undocumented students are declaring that they will file an application to legalize their immigration status or will file an application as soon as eligible to do so.
Will I qualify for AB 540 if I only attended 2 ½ years of High School in California?
No. The law clearly states 3 or more years of High School in California AND prior to the start of the semester term have attained a CA High School diploma or the equivalent of a California GED or a California Certificate of Proficiency.
Do I qualify if I did not graduate from a California High School but attended a California Adult Education School?
No. Attendance in an Adult Education School to attain an adult High School diploma is not equivalent to attending a high school and does not satisfy the requirement under AB 540.
Can I qualify for the AB 540 if I have not filed an application to legalize my immigration status?
Yes. Undocumented students are eligible for AB 540 as long as the student has attended high school in California for 3 or more years AND prior to the start of the semester term graduated/received a diploma from a California High School, or has attained a High School Equivalency Certificate (a California GED), or a California Certificate of Proficiency. Students who have filed an application to legalize their immigration status or students who will file an application as soon as eligible to do so qualify for AB 540.
Will an approved AB 540 make me eligible to apply for Financial Aid?
Yes. As of the Spring semester, January 1, 2013, students at Community Colleges eligible for the AB 540 may now apply for Financial Aid under the California Dream Act of 2011.
Students are eligible to apply now for privately funded scholarships, Board of Governors Fee Waivers, Assistance from EOPS/CARE, or CALWORKS and State financial aid like CAL GRANTS and CHAFEE Grants. Please check with our Financial Aid Office (707-527-4471) for information.
Will I qualify for the AB 540 if my first 2 years of high school were in Washington, and my last 2 years of high school and graduation were in California?
No. The student must have attended a California high school for a minimum of 3 years. Graduation from a California high school with only 2 years of high school will not qualify for the AB 540.
Will I be able to continue my eligibility for the AB 540 when I transfer to a higher Education in California?
The public system of higher education in California including the University of California, the California State University and the California Community Colleges have adopted the AB 540 as part of their educational code. You will be required to submit a new Affidavit form to the Office of the Registrar where you will be enrolled.
Will a student residing in another state and homeschooled through an online school in California who completed the 4 years and graduated qualify for the AB 540?
Home Schooling through a California school to complete the curriculum from a school in California while considered a resident of another state is not acceptable. AB 540 requirements specifically states “ high school attendance in California for 3 or more years”.
Will a student who had 3 or more years of high school attendance in California and received a Certificate of Completion (other than a high school diploma) from a California high school qualifies for the AB 540?
Yes. A student who received a California Certificate of Completion in addition to the three years of California High School attendance is eligible for the AB 540 exemption from nonresident tuition.
A student who does not pass the California high school exit exam (CAHSEE) is still AB 540 eligible if the student received a Certificate of Completion from a California high school AND have completed the three years of high school in California.
This also applies to a student with a disability who had participated in special education in a California high school for 3 or more years AND received a California Certificate of Achievement/Completion.
Will a student who graduates in May or June be able to submit their AB 540 Form 2 to 3 months before graduation?
No. We cannot accept an AB 540 form from a student until after they have graduated from high school. The form must be dated after graduation.
How can I be guaranteed confidentiality with information I submit on the AB 540?
The information you provide on the AB 540 is for college purposes only and must remain confidential under California law.
Do private universities such as the University of Southern California (USC), Stanford University, University of San Francisco (USF), or technical colleges like ITT Tech, Healds College, or Bryman College, etc. accepts the California AB 540 Affidavit nonresident tuition exemption?
No. Private colleges and universities set their own tuition policies. AB 540 applies only to public community colleges and universities in California.
Will I qualify to apply for the AB 540 if my graduation from high school was before the passage of AB 540 law?
As long as the student attended a California high school for 3 or more years AND graduated from a California high school, attained a California GED or California Certificate of Proficiency.
How should I rectify a social security number, or an alien resident number not belonging to me that I provided to the school or that I claimed US citizenship in my school records and I am not?
If you have falsified your school records, please contact our Admissions & Records Office right away so the mistake can be corrected immediately.
Am I eligible for the AB 540 tuition exemption if I hold a valid student visa?
No. AB 540 is available only to U.S. citizens, those with legal permanent resident status, undocumented immigrant student and just recently as of January 1, 2013, nonimmigrant students holding an approved “T” or “U” Visas. However, a nonimmigrant student holding an expired visa is no longer a non immigrant and becomes undocumented. If a student is currently undocumented, the student is eligible to apply for the AB 540 exemption as long as the student meets the requirements under the AB 540.
Does AB 540 eligibility also qualifies me to change my immigration status?
AB 540 eligibility exempts a student from paying nonresident tuition. It DOES NOT change nor adjust immigration status. For information you may contact our Admissions & Records Office (707) 527-4685.