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Step 2: Apply for California Dream Act Financial Aid

(Undergraduate students only)

Now that we’ve covered AB540, let’s talk about getting you financial aid!

What exactly is the CA Dream Act Financial Aid?

The California Dream Act Application allows students interested in attending eligible California Colleges, Universities and Career Education Programs to apply for state financial aid. This application is unrelated to the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program or the Dream Act legislation that has been introduced in Congress. 

Undocumented students who submit a CA Dream Act Financial Aid application may be eligible for:

  • Cal Grants: High School Entitlement Cal Grant A & B, CCC Transfer Entitlement Cal Grant A & B, Cal Grant C, Competitive Cal Grants 
  • Chafee Grant, Middle Class Scholarship 
  • UC Grants, State University Grants 
  • California Community College (CCC) California Promise Grant 
  • Some University scholarships 
  • Some private scholarships administered by campuses 
  • work-study (with a valid work authorization)

Not bad, huh?!

Important Facts 

  • You must file a California Dream Act Application before each academic year to be considered for financial aid.
  • The California Dream Act application opens October 1 each year. To receive priority funding, file your application no later than March 2 each year.
  • The UC San Diego school code for your California Dream Act Application is 001317.
  • Students applying for the Cal Grant for the first time must submit a GPA Verification form to the California Student Aid Commission by March 2. The form is available online at
  • The California Dream Act Application requires the previous year’s tax information.
    • 2021-2022 academic year, use 2019 tax information
  • You may need to verify your tax information with an IRS Tax Transcript.
  • For 2021-22 to receive priority funding, submit all financial aid documents by May 1 for Continuing Students and June 15 for New First-year and Transfer Students. The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office may ask you for additional documents after you file your California Dream Act Application. Check your UC San Diego email often, and make sure you submit any additional documents or clear any California Dream Act Application rejections by the published deadlines.

So if you haven’t submitted the CA Dream Act application, do it now!

Given the number of times we’ve worked with students who complete the application and have run into issues, we recommend starting your application no later than November. Starting early will give you enough time to troubleshoot issues with your application and still submit the application on time.

Ready to apply? Here’s the app and here’s a helpful checklist our friends at Immigrants Rising put together. 

Note! Do not, we repeat, do not submit the FAFSA.

Undocumented students are not eligible for Federal student aid and therefore they should not submit a FAFSA application. 

Still have questions? Confused about something you saw on the application? Get in touch with our Financial Aid Office!