Resources for AB540 and Undocumented Students

This page has resources about DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the California Dream Act, and scholarships.


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DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

DACA allows certain individuals who were brought to the US as children to have deferred action status to apply for employment authorization in the U.S. but does not allow a direct path to lawful permanent residence or to citizenship and it can be revoked at any time. If you qualify, DACA can help you gain lawful employment authorization to allow you to work to pay for school.

Want to learn more about DACA?

Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) has easy to understand information about DACA.
US Citizenship & Immigration Services has the official page for DACA and detailed information.
Download the DACA forms and instructions from USCIS.

Need help applying for DACA? 

The Asian Law Alliance provides FREE assistance! The ALA is a reputable non-profit organization that provides legal assistance to our community. Get help with your DACA application by calling them at (408) 287-9710. Only trust reputable and authorized practitioners to help you with immigration paperwork. Learn more about how to avoid scams here.

Need help PAYING for DACA? 

DACA fees cannot be waived except under very limited circumstances. Visit USCIS fee exemptions page to learn more. 

If you are unable to pay the filing fee of $465 and are a Mexican National, you may qualify for different programs that can help you with the fee.  Contact the Asian Law Alliance (408)-287-9710 to see if you qualify.

> Visit E4FC's DACA guide under "Step 6" to learn more about getting help paying for DACA.

Need more help? Ask our community partners:


California Dream Act - AB540, AB130, and AB131

The California Dream Act, authored by Assembly Member Gil Cedillo (Los Angeles), became law through the passage of two Assembly Bills, AB 130 and AB 131.

What is the California Dream Act?

AB 130 allows students who meet AB 540 criteria (California Education Code 68130.5(a)) to apply for and receive non-state funded scholarships for public colleges and universities. 

AB 131 allows students who meet AB 540 criteria to apply for and receive state-funded financial aid such as institutional grants, community college fee waivers, Cal Grant and Chafee Grant.

The California Dream Act Application can only be completed by students who meet the following qualifications:

  1. Students who cannot file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and
  2. Students who attended at least three full years in a California public or private high school and
  3. Students who graduated a California high school or attained the equivalent prior to the start of the college term, for example
    1. High School Equivalency Certificate from the California GED Office or Certificate of
    2. Proficiency resulting from the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE), and
  4. Students who, if they are without lawful immigration status, have or will file an affidavit with the college or university they are attending stating that they have filed an application to legalize their immigration status, or will file an application as soon as they are eligible to do so. This affidavit is filed with the college they attend. 

Completing the California Dream Act Application

There are two ways to complete a Dream Act Application:
1. Online at www.caldreamact.org  (recommended)
Applying online is faster and easier for these reasons:

  • The online Dream Act Application has built-in edits to make sure that you answer the key questions.
  • Skip logic in the application guides you to answer key questions and may allow you to skip other questions and complete the application faster.
  • The schools you list on your application will receive your processed information faster.

2. Paper Dream Act Application

  • If you do not have a computer with Internet access at home, you can find Internet access at your local library, high school, or a college financial aid office at a nearby campus.
  • Call the Student Aid Commission at 888-224-7268 to ask for a paper Dream Act Application.

 * The information you put on your Dream Act Application will be transmitted to the school(s) you listed on your application.  In addition to using this information to calculate your EFC, many schools use this information to determine your eligibility for their financial aid. Some schools may also require you to complete additional applications. Check with your school's financial aid office for more information.


Scholarships

Scholarships are the best way to pay for school. Scholarships can be merrit based, income based, and others are based on your story, obstacles you have overcome, or what you hope to achieve with your education. Most scholarships require you to write an essay, so it's important that you write a great essay, follow directions, and make sure it's grammar and spelling error free.

Educators for Fair Consideration is an incredible resource for finding scholarships for  immigrant students that don't have U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residency. They also offer great advice and tips for writing scholarship essays. 

Student Advocates for Higher Education is also proud to offer a scholarship! Since 2007, SAHE has awarded scholarships to students who are dedicated to helping their communities and who are highly motivated to reach their goals through education and hard work. Our scholarship is open to students reguardless of legal status.