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Financial Aid

California Dream Act

What is it?

The California Dream Act is a combination of three bills, Assembly Bill (AB) 540, AB 130 and AB 131. Together, these bills allow undocumented and nonresident documented students who meet certain provisions to be treated the same as resident students. Together these are called the California Dream Act and they allow these students to pay the resident fees at public colleges and universities, apply for and receive private scholarships funded through public universities, state-administered financial aid, university grants, community college fee waivers and Cal Grants.

 Note: If have applied/received approval for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), then you should complete the CA Dream Act Application, NOT the Free Application for Federal Students Aid (FAFSA).

Before You Apply

  • Make sure you qualify for AB540. Only students who are eligible for AB540 qualify for the CA Dream Act. (Scroll to AB540 section for eligibility requirements)
  • Gather all the information. Parents' and Student's Federal Income Tax Return (if filed), W2 Forms (student and parents'), current bank statements, current investment account statements, and Alien Registration number (if you have one)
  • Keep in mind the deadline. The deadline to submit the CA Dream Act Application is MARCH 2nd. It is very important that you submit your application before the deadline because it can have an impact on the amount of your financial aid.

How To Apply

That is the easy part. Just go to and start a new application.

It is important to make notes of your login information for you will be using the same login if you intend to apply the following year.

Complete all the required questions and follow along the side bar for clarification on questions.

Make sure all information is correct before submitting.


After You Apply

Approximately one week after you complete the CA Dream Application, you will receive your Student Aid Report (SAR). Carefully review your status and follow the instructions if you need to make any correction.

You may also qualify for Cal Grants. The application information and how to apply can be found at;

If you have any questions, please contact our Dream Scholar Resource Team’s financial aid representative Jennifer Leon at

For more information, check out the following links:

AB 540

What is AB 540?

Assembly Bill (AB) 540 is a California State Law that allows students, who meet certain criteria, to pay in-state tuition at any University of California (UC), Cal State University (CSU), or California Community College. It was signed into law on October 12, 2001 by Governor Gray Davis.

For FAQs, click here.

How To Apply

  • After you have accepted an offer of admission to a UC campus, submit your Statement of Legal Residence to the campus residence deputy.
  • If you then receive a nonresident classification, the campus residence deputy may provide additional forms for you to complete to determine your eligibility for the AB 540 nonresident tuition exemption. Be prepared to provide official California school transcripts and proof of high school graduation.
  • Once UC grants you the exemption, you won't need to reapply as long as your visa status doesn't change and you're continuously enrolled in the program to which you've been admitted at a UC campus.

Who Is Eligible?

Students (including undocumented students) who, for various reasons, are classified as nonresidents may be eligible.

You must meet all the following requirements to be eligible:

  • Attend a California high school for three* or more years (9th grade counts)
  • Graduate (or will graduate) from a high school in California or the equivalent (a High School Equivalency Certificate issued by the California State GED Office or a Certificate of Proficiency resulting from the California High School Proficiency Examination are considered equivalent to high school graduation).
  • You also must have signed the California Nonresident Exemption Request, which states that you meet all the requirements to qualify for AB 540 status and, if you are undocumented, are in the process of adjusting your immigration status (or will do so as soon as you are eligible)

Who Is Not Eligible?

  • Students in possession of nonimmigrant visas (including, but not limited to any of the following visas: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T*, TN/TD, TWOV, U*, and NATO) are not eligible for this exemption.
  • *Except for holders of T and U visas: UC policy permits T and U visa holders with approved I-485 applications who meet the requirements described above to be exempt from nonresident supplemental tuition until they are eligible to establish California residency according to UC policy.
  • DACA students who do not meet the AB 540 tuition requirements, listed above, will not be eligible for the exemption.

California Dream Loan

What Is It?

The California DREAM Loan Program provides eligible undocumented AB 540 undergraduates with the option to borrow loans to help cover the cost of attending UC.

Who Is Eligible?

Undergraduates students who are eligible for AB540, have a financial need and maintains at least half-time enrollment (6-8.9 units).

More Information

UCSB Financial Aid for Dream Scholars 

University of California on the CA Dream Loan

Financial Crisis Response Team


The UCSB Financial Crisis Response Team exists to assist students who are facing a financial crisis or urgent financial need. This effort aims to assist undergraduate and graduate students who are facing significant financial difficulties that jeopardize their path to graduation. The team works closely to evaluate, respond, and support students in crisis in a streamlined and timely manner.

For more information, see the attached flyer here.


If you are experiencing a crisis, email the Financial Crisis Response Team the details and they will work with you to develop a plan of action.  Depending on the situation, you will either be asked to answer a few questions about the situation in an on-line form or be asked to meet in person with an advisor in the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, or both. An advisor will help guide you through the process. This effort was put in place to help undergraduate students as well as graduate students. Additionally, an emergency loan program has been established to assist international students in need. 

For any other questions, please email