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AB540 California Nonresident Tuition Exemption

State Law

AB 540 is a California law passed in 2001 which created Education Code Section 68130.5. This was later modified in 2014 with the passage of AB 2000 (Gomez); in 2017 with the passage of SB 68 (Lara); and most recently in 2022 with the passage of SB 1141 (Limon). It allows certain eligible students, including those who are undocumented, to pay in-state tuition fees at a California Community College (CCC), California State University (CSU), and University of California (UC). This law does not apply to private universities. AB 540 benefits students who are attending a CCC, CSU, or UC. Students can take classes to pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree, credential, or certificate, but are not required to complete a program or degree to be eligible. For more information about the legislation, please refer to Education Code Section 

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for AB540, students must meet the following criteria (a-d):

  1. Have an immigration status that allows the student to be eligible: Undocumented and DACA recipients, T and U visa holders, U.S. citizens, and lawfully present immigrants.
  2. Total attendance (or attainment of credits earned) in California is equivalent to three or more years of full-time attendance at California high schools, California adult schools, campuses of the California Community Colleges (noncredit or credit courses), or a combination of these.
    • Note: Students can now complete all three years of attendance through credit courses at California Community Colleges due to the passage of SB 1141.

  c. Completion of a course of study. This requirement can be met in the following ways:

    • Graduation from a California high school or equivalent (diploma, certificate of completion, GED, HiSet, or TASC).
    • Attainment of an associate degree from a California Community College.
    • Fulfillment of the minimum transfer requirements established for the University of California or the California State University for students transferring from a California community college

 d. Filing of a Nonresident Exemption Request Affidavit (AB 540 Affidavit) stating that the student has filed an application to legalize the student’s immigration status, or will file an application as soon as the student is eligible to do so.

    • Students must submit an AB 540 Affidavit to the Admissions Office.

Application Form, to submit via JIRA click here

AB540 California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request For Eligible California High School Graduates

Championing Equity: Systemwide AB 540 Frequently Ask Questions