Rio Hondo College is committed to assisting the undocumented student population by providing support and guidance throughout their pursuit of higher education. Our mission is to educate and empower undocumented students about the resources available to make their educational journey successful. We help our students by offering guidance from counselors and mentorship from Success Coaches, scholarships, and resources to achieve their academic goals. We are dedicated to motivate and encourage our undocumented students to strive for excellence.
What is Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540)?
The Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540) is the California legislation that allows undocumented students to attend a community college, California State University, or University of California and pay resident fees (in-state tuition). 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
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.
Assembly Bills 130 and 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.
AB 130 (Scholarships): This law took effect on January 1, 2012. It allows eligible AB 540 students to apply for & receive scholarships at California public colleges and universities derived from non-state funds.
AB 131 (Grants): This law took effect on January 1, 2013. It allows eligible AB 540 student to apply for and receive financial aid at California public colleges and universities partially derived from state funds beginning in the Spring 2013 semester.
Students may be selected for institutional verification of their application data. This will require the student to submit verification documents, such as information on household size, number in college, income verification, selective service verification for males, etc.
What is the California DREAM Act?
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 mean that AB 540 students are now eligible for:
- UC Scholarships and Grants
- Cal Grants
- Chafee Foster Youth Grants
- Other state financial aid
What is Assembly Bill 2000 (AB 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)
- Who benefits from this law? Students who are not a permanent residents, or citizens, and have attended CA institutions, but are lacking the 3 or more years requirement of high school required for AB 540 eligibility. As well as students who graduated early from high school.
What is Senate Bill 68 (SB 68)?
SB 68 expands AB 540 to enable students to count years spent at a California Community College and Adult School towards AB 540 eligibility. Additionally, the bill will allow the completion of an Associate Degree or satisfaction of the minimum requirements to transfer to the University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) to meet the degree or unit requirements. These new eligibility criteria expand possibilities for students educated in CA to qualify for in-state tuition and state-based financial aid at CCCs, CSUs, and UCs.
- Who benefits from this law? 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, secondary schools, or combination of these schools to meet the 3 years required to be eligible for in-state tuition. Also, 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 Degree or the fulfillment of the minimum transfer requirements for the UCs or CSUs to meet the requirements.
What is Senate Bill 1159 (SB 1159)
Passed in September 2014, SB 1159 allows access to professional and vocational licenses to those without a social security number.
- Prohibits any entity within the department from denying licensure to an applicant based on his or her citizenship status, or immigration status.
- Who benefits from this law? Students with no lawful immigration status with a valid Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) or those who have befitted from Deferred Action (SSN) who will be practicing professions.