California DREAM Act:
Assembly Bills 130 & 131 are laws that were passed in 2011 by the California legislature. This law increases opportunities for AB 540 students to receive financial aid while attending college. The California DREAM ACT was authored by California State Senator Gil Cedillo and was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2011. It consists of two bills: Assembly Bill 130 allows undocumented students with AB 540 classification to apply for non-state funded scholarships. Assembly bill 131 allows undocumented students with AB 540 classification to apply for state funded financial aid.
Assembly Bill 2000:
Passed in September 2014, AB 2000 amends the school attendance requirement of AB 540 and designates that if a student has not attended a California High School for at least three years that portion of the eligibility criteria may be replaced by the following:
- Attainment of three years’ worth of high school credits from a California High School (equivalent to 3 or more years of full time high school coursework), and
- A total of 3 or more years of attendance in California elementary or secondary schools or a combination of those schools (the years do not have to be sequential)
Senate Bill 1159:
Passed in September 2014, SB 1159 allows access to professional licenses to those without a social security number.
AB 540 Requirements
WHAT IS AB 540
AB 540 allows qualifying students to apply for different types of California Dream Act financial aid.
Students must have
- 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 Development (GED), AND
- Enrolled 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 have also attended CA schools (elementary and secondary) for a cumulative total of three or more years.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
What is DACA?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a federal process that defers removal action of an individual by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (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
You may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals if you:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Individuals can call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 with questions or to request more information on the deferred action for childhood arrivals process or visit www.uscis.gov
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.
California Dream Act Application
WHAT FINANCIAL AID CAN A DREAMER APPLY FOR?
- Cal Grant and Chafee Grant
- University scholarships
- 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
(Dreamers are not eligible to receive Competitive Cal Grants.)
You can submit your GPA the following ways
- Non-SSN http://www.csac.ca.gov/doc.asp?id=1177
- 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.