AB 540, or California Education Code § 68130.5, is a California state law that allows qualifying undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public colleges in California. This includes UCLA.
To qualify for In-State Tuition under AB 540, you must meet all of the following criteria:
- You attended a California high school for 3 or more years.
- You have graduated or will graduate from a California high school or have attained a G.E.D.
- You have registered at or are currently enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education in California.
- You have filed or will file an affidavit as required by individual institutions, stating that you will apply for legal residency as soon as possible.
See the University of California’s AB 540 website here.
If you don’t have AB 540 status, you cannot receive institutional fellowships from either the University of California or from private donors administered through the University of California. Private loans and private scholarships or fellowships through a non university-based entity or external entity are the only financial aid options. Read more here.
Q: What is an Affidavit?
A: The AB 540 Affidavit serves two purposes: one is to verify that the student meets the educational requirements listed above to qualify for in-state tuition, and the second is to certify the student's intent to establish legal residency. Any information given by the student in such an affidavit is protected under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This means that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement CANNOT access a student's educational records, including an AB 540 Affidavit. See a copy of the UC Affidavit here.
Reminder: Residency status for tuition purposes is not determined until after the student has been admitted to the University and has completed an online Statement of Legal Residence and Statement of Intent to Register.
Q: How do I apply for AB 540 status?
A: Once you have accepted an offer of admission to UCLA, fill out and submit the Statement of Legal Residence form to the campus residence deputy. This form, completed by all students, determines the level of tuition and fees you will be charged. If you are denied in-state residency after completing the Statement of Legal Residence, you can submit your AB 540 Affidavit and high school transcripts to the Registrar’s Office to establish your AB 540 status. The Residence Deputy will review the form and documentation and determine your AB 540 eligibility.
You should establish your AB 540 status before your fall fees are assessed.
Q: What if I am undocumented, but do not qualify for AB 540 status?
A: Unfortunately, there is no law that grants in-state tuition to students based on their immigration status. If you do not qualify for AB 540, you will probably have to pay out-of-state fees based on your specific situation. Fortunately, however, public universities cannot deny you the right to attend college due to your immigration status.
Q: What are the limitations of the AB 540 Law?
A: AB 540 does not give undocumented graduate students any sort of eligibility for financial assistance from state or federal funds. This includes CalGrants, Pell Grants, and loans from government sources. However, students who are given AB 540 status may apply for some forms of university aid as well as scholarships from privately-funded sources that do not consider residency or citizenship as part of their scholarship eligibility requirements. They may also apply for certain private loans that do not require citizenship. Learn more about the California DREAM Act, legislation which seeks to address this situation, below.
AB 540 also does not provide students the opportunity to apply for permanent resident status or citizenship.