The California Dream Act Application allows students interested in attending eligible California Colleges, Universities and Career Education Programs to apply for state financial aid. This application is unrelated to the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
AB 540 exempts certain students from paying nonresident tuition (higher than resident tuition) and allows them to apply for different types of California Dream Act financial aid.
Students must have
- Satisfaction of either of the following:
- High School attendance in California for three or more years.
- Attainment of credits earned in California from a California high school equivalent to three or more years of full-time high school coursework and a total of three or more years of attendance in California elementary schools, California secondary schools, or a combination of those schools.
- Graduated or will graduate from a California high school or obtained a Certificate or General Education Development (GED), High School Equivalency Test (HiSET), or test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC).
- Will register or enroll in an accredited and qualifying California college or university.
- If applicable, complete(d) an affidavit to legalize immigration status as soon as you are eligible.
- Do not hold a valid non-immigrant visa (F, J, H, L, A, B, C, D, E, etc.)**
**If you have Temporary Protected Status or hold a U Visa you may be eligible for the California Dream Act.
AB 1899 allows U and T visa holders to also apply for state financial aid. (T visa holders should file a FAFSA, U visa holders should file a CA Dream Act Application)
If you meet the requirements above, you should complete the CA Dream Act Application for financial aid. (A certified GPA is also necessary for Cal Grant consideration.)
Your college is responsible for verifying your AB 540 eligibility. Check with your Admissions Office early in the summer before the Fall Term starts.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a federal process that defers removal action of an individual by USCIS for a specified number of years.
- It is not the same as financial aid
- It does not grant lawful immigration status
- It does allow individuals to apply for an SSN and work authorization
CA Dreamers should still file a CA Dream Act Application instead of a FAFSA and submit a Non-SSN GPA. If you or your school submits your certified GPA using your DACA SSN, make sure you include that DACA SSN on question #8 of your CA Dream Act Application.
- 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
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.)
A Dreamer Cal Grant application = CA Dream Act Application + Non-SSN GPA
You can submit your GPA the following ways
- Non-SSN - Best!
- SSN (with your DACA) – but you MUST make sure you include your DACA SSN on Question #8 of your CA Dream Act Application (may slow down processing of your application)
You must meet the application deadline and all applicable eligibility requirements to qualify for any financial aid listed above.