On October 12, 2001, Governor Davis signed into law Assembly Bill 540 (Stats. 2001, ch.814) which adds a new section to the California Education Code. Section 68130.5 creates a new exemption from payment of nonresident tuition for certain nonresident students who have attended high school in California and received a high school diploma or its equivalent.
- The new law does not grant residency, it requires that certain nonresident students be exempted from paying nonresident tuition.
- Students exempted from paying nonresident tuition pursuant to section 68130.5 do not become residents for eligibility purposes for any state-funded program (e.g., EOP&S, Cal Grant programs, or for purposes of a BOG Fee Waiver).
- Students who meet the exemption requirements and who are unlawful immigrants are not eligible for any federal or state financial aid program. Many private sources have created scholarships specific to students not eligible for traditional financial aid programs.
- Students exempted from paying nonresident tuition pursuant to section 68130.5 are not eligible for the Governor’s Merit Scholar Programs because these scholarships are only available for California residents.
- Students must meet all requirements in section 68130.5 (a) (1) – (4) to be eligible for the exemption.
a. The student must have attended a California high school for three or more years. There are no provisions for partial attendance (e.g. two years and 7 months). The law does not require consecutive attendance nor require that the student attended the last three years in California (in the case of four-year high schools).
b. Such attendance could be at multiple California high schools. Attendance at continuation high schools, charter high schools and K-12 approved independent education is acceptable.
Attendance at a home school is not acceptable unless the home schooling was provided in a manner recognized under state law. The law does not distinguish between public and private high schools. There is no time limit on how far in the past the student might have attended a California high school.
c. The student must have graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent thereof (e.g., a GED or a high school proficiency exam).
d. Except for non-immigrant aliens, any nonresident student who meets the first two requirements shall be exempted from nonresident tuition even if he or she is a US citizen or lawful immigrant.
e. If the student has filed an application with the INS to legalize status, the student may already be eligible for resident fee status if the student has resided in California for more than one year since the time of INS application. (See Title 5 Section 54045.)
- Students who are non-immigrant aliens (the most common being the F series student visas and B series visitor visas), are not eligible for this exemption. (A full description of non-immigrant alien classification may be found in paragraph 15 of subsection (a) of Section 1101 of Title 8 of the U.S. Code.) People who entered the country as non-immigrant aliens but subsequently have gone out of status are not eligible for this exemption until they apply to INS to change their status to something other than non-immigrant.
- High School transcripts are required to apply for AB540.
Beginning January 1, 2015 AB 2000 amended the school attendance requirement of AB 540 and designated 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).
SB 68 expands in-state tuition eligibility in California beyond the current requirements for AB 540 / AB 2000. Due to this new law, more students will now be able to pay in-state tuition at California public colleges and universities (CCCs, CSUs & UCs) and apply for state-based financial aid.
- ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
Undocumented individuals, T and U visa holders, U.S. citizens, and lawfully present immigrants who meet the eligibility criteria above can apply if their classes were taken in 2001 or after. Individuals with international student visas, visitor visas, or other “non-immigrants” statuses are not eligible to apply.
SB 68 benefits students who didn’t go to three years of high school in California
SB 68 will allow students to count full-time attendance at a California Community College, Adult School, Department of Rehabilitation and Correction School, High School, or combination of these schools to meet the 3 years required to be eligible for in-state tuition. Students who have three years of high school coursework can also count attendance at an elementary school.
SB 68 benefits students who don’t have a California High School Diploma or didn’t get their GED in California. Students will be able to use an Associate’s Degree or the fulfillment of the minimum transfer requirements for the UCs or CSUs to meet the requirements. Contact the school you plan to attend for further information.
California Dream Act
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.
AB 130 allows students who meet AB 540 criteria 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.