Cal Grants available to AB 540 students
The California Dream Act of 2011 was passed in 2 laws - AB 130 and AB 131 which allow AB 540 eligible students to apply for and receive:
- Privately funded scholarships at public colleges & universities
- Institutional financial aid like UC Grants, State University Grants, EOP and EOPS grants & fee waivers, and community college BOG fee waivers
- State financial aid like Cal Grants and Chafee Grants
You are an AB 540 eligible student if you...
- Have attended a CA high school for at least three years or graduated early from a CA high school with the equivalent of three or more years of credit*, AND
- Graduated from a CA high school, or passed the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE), or obtained a certificate of General Education (GED), AND
- Enroll in an accredited and qualifying CA college or university, AND
- If applicable, complete(d) an affidavit to legalize immigration status as soon as you are eligible.
*if you graduated early from high school under this provision, you must also have attended CA schools (elementary and secondary) for a cumulative total of three or more years.
California Dream Act Myths & Facts
Myth #1: All Dream Act students are illegal immigrants
Dream Act students must meet the requirements of AB 540 law found in Education Code 68230.5(a). Two groups of students potentially meet those requirements: (1) US citizens who have attended and graduated from a CA high school, but don't meet state residency requirements, and (2) undocumented students whose parents brought them to the U.S. when they were minors, and who attended and graduated from a CA high school.
Myth #2: State grants are being taken away from U.S. legal citizens
The Cal Grants A & B for which Dream Act students are eligible are entitlements. Every CA high school graduate (or the equivalent) who meets the qualifications receives an award.
Myth #3: Dream Act financial aid is a waste of state resources, because these students will not be able to work once they leave college
As stated under Myth #1, a portion of Dream Act students are U.S. citizens, and there are no occupational restrictions to them, except as pertain to general economic conditions.
All undocumented Dream Act students must file an affidavit stating they have or intend to (as soon as they are able) apply to legalize their immigration status as a condition of the AB 540 and AB 131 laws. That legal process may result in permanent residency before the students leave college or shortly thereafter.
The U.S. Congress has attempted to pass various federal DREAM Acts with bipartisan support. The federal Act would create a pathway to permanent residency and work authorization. That law may be put into place before students leave college or shortly thereafter.
For all secondary students, the college experience expands knowledge, identity and community; develops workforce skills; and builds educated and engaged residents and citizens.
Myth #4: Dream Act Cal Grants can only be used at California public colleges and universities
Dream Act Cal Grants can be used at any eligible Cal Grant participating institution.