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Understanding federal and state legislation

There are a number of programs and laws that directly impact undocumented students at national and state levels. You can contact UC campus support resources with any questions you may have and visit the websites below for up-to-date information.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

DACA is a program under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that temporarily suspends deportation of some unauthorized individuals. DACA was announced on June 15, 2012. Students who are granted DACA can be employed legally in the US for up to two years (if they demonstrate “an economic necessity for employment”). If you receive a work authorization permit through DACA, you’ll also receive a Social Security Number.

If you’re thinking about applying for DACA, make sure to get all the right information you need before you submit the application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. If you need help filling out the forms, read E4FC’s step-by-step guide on filling out the DACA application, and contact a UC campus ally or community organization in your area.

Learn more at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:

If you’re a DACA student at UC, you can:

Keep in mind that DACA has no effect on eligibility for AB 540 classification or financial aid.

California state legislation

AB 540 is a California law that allows some nonresident and undocumented students to pay in-state tuition and fees. To be eligible for AB 540, students must:

  • Have attended a California high school for at least three years
  • Have graduated (or will graduate) from a high school in California or received a GED or passed California High School Proficiency Exam
  • Have signed the California Nonresident Exemption Request, which states that the student meets all the requirements to qualify for AB 540 status and, if s/he is undocumented, is in the process of adjusting their immigration status, or will do so as soon as they are eligible
  • Not possess a non-immigrant visa

Learn more about AB 540 and how to apply.

The California Dream Act is made up of two California Assembly Bills: AB 130 and AB 131. Both pieces of legislation enable students who qualify for AB 540 to be eligible for certain types of UC and state financial aid. Together, these bills means that AB 540 students are now eligible for:

  • UC scholarships and grants
  • Cal Grants
  • Chafee Foster Youth Grants
  • Other state financial aid

Learn more about the California Dream Act and how to apply for financial aid.

SB 1159 requires all 40 licensing boards under the California Department of Consumer Affairs to consider applicants regardless of immigration status by 2016.

Learn more about SB 1159.