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Admitted Students

Congratulations on getting admitted to UC San Diego! We are excited to welcome you and support you on this new journey you’re about to begin.  

Before you explore other areas of our website and learn about the programs and services we offer, there are two things you need to make sure you do if you haven’t done so already.  

Whether you’re an incoming freshman or transfer student, it’s extremely important that you apply for AB540 classification and the California Dream Act financial aid. 

In summary, AB540 classification makes you eligible to receive a waiver for out-of-state fees and apply for financial aid from the state of California and the university through the CA Dream Act application. Continue reading for the nitty-gritty details of AB540 and the CA Dream Act Financial Aid application.  

Apply for AB 540 Classification

AB 540 allows eligible students, including undocumented individuals, to be exempted from nonresident tuition and access state-based financial aid.

What are the benefits of AB 540?

 Eligible students will receive the following benefits:

  • Are exempted from paying out-of-state tuition. This is important because the cost of out-of-state tuition & fees is often three times as expensive as in-state tuition. 
  • Can apply for and receive application fee waivers at the UC. 
  • Can apply for and be admitted to EOP&S or EOP programs. 
  • Can apply for and receive state-based financial aid, including public college and university financial aid, through the California Dream Act application. If an undocumented student does not meet AB 540 eligibility requirements, they will not be eligible to receive state-based financial aid (state grants & public college and university financial aid).

What are the eligibility criteria for AB 540?

To be eligible for AB540, students must meet the following criteria (A-D):

  1. Have an immigration status that allows the student to be eligible: Undocumented and DACA recipients, T and U visa holders,, U.S. citizens, and lawfully present immigrants. 
  2. Total attendance (or attainment of credits earned) in California is equivalent to three or more years of full-time attendance at California high schools, California adult schools, campuses of the California Community Colleges (noncredit or credit courses), or a combination of these.
    1. Note: Students can now complete all three years of attendance through credit courses at California Community Colleges due to the passage of SB 1141.
  3. Completion of a course of study. This requirement can be met in the following ways:
    1. Graduation from a California high school or equivalent (diploma, certificate of completion, GED, HiSet, or TASC).
    2. Attainment of an associate degree from a California Community College.
    3. Fulfillment of the minimum transfer requirements established for the University of California or the California State University for students transferring from a California community college.
  4. Filing of a Nonresident Exemption Request Affidavit (AB 540 Affidavit) stating that the student has filed an application to legalize the student’s immigration status, or will file an application as soon as the student is eligible to do so. Students must submit an AB 540 Affidavit to each college or university they wish to attend and have it approved by the appropriate department.

Who is not eligible for AB540: 

  • International students (e.g., those studying on a J or F visa) 
  • All ‘‘non-immigrant” visa holders not listed above
  • Others as identified in the Education Code

Steps to apply for AB540 classification 

  1. After you have accepted an offer of admission to UC San Diego, complete your Statement of Legal Residence form for Residence Deputy review. *Note: Undergraduate students will be required to complete all applicable residency forms in their UCSD Applicant Portal before accepting their offer of admission.
  2. Your Statement of Legal Residence will be evaluated by a campus residence deputy. If applicable, you will be asked to complete a California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request (AB540 Affidavit) to determine your eligibility for the AB540 exemption. Be prepared to prove with documentation that you meet the eligibility requirements discussed above. 

If the residency deputy grants you AB540 classification, you will not need to reapply as long as your visa or immigration status does not change, and you are continuously enrolled in the program to which you have been admitted at a UC campus. 

Where do I submit my Statement of Legal Residence and my AB 540 application?  

Where you will submit your Statement of Legal Residence and AB540 Affidavit depends on your class-level. 

  • Undergraduate Students: Please complete all residency forms assigned to you in your UCSD Applicant Portal. Upload your AB540 Affidavit under the “Upload Materials” section in your portal if applicable. 
  • Graduate Students: Please complete your Statement of Legal Residence in your Applicant Portal and email your AB540 Affidavit to Be sure to include your PID in your correspondence. 
  • For graduate programs that do not have an Applicant Portal, please email your Statement of Legal Residence and AB540 Affidavit to Be sure to include your PID in your correspondence. 
  • Medical and Pharmacy: Please email your Statement of Legal Residence and AB540 Affidavit to Be sure to include your PID in your correspondence. 

Systemwide AB 540 FAQ:

The Championing Equity: Systemwide AB 540 FAQ aims to increase alignment in the implementation of this policy and streamline processing between the CCCs, CSUs, and UCs, along with individual campuses. It was developed to be a central reference point for practitioners at colleges, universities, high schools, adult schools, and non-credit programs. 

Use this resource to get clear guidance on navigating AB 540 for prospective and current students, regardless of their educational history. 

This systemwide AB 540 FAQ was co-created by leaders from Immigrants Rising, the CCC Chancellor’s Office, the CSU Chancellor’s Office, and the UC Office of the President; as well as practitioners from each system.

Additional Questions?

Message our Residency Deputy for help.

Submit CA Dream Act Financial Aid App

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  
  • EOP/EOPS  
  • Some University scholarships  
  • Some private scholarships administered by campuses  

Not bad huh?! 

Important Facts 

  • You must file a California Dream Act Application before each academic year to be considered for financial aid.
  • The 2023-2024 California Dream Act application is available now until June 30, 2024.
  • The 2024-2025 California Dream Act application is expected to open in December 2023. 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.
    • 2023-2024 academic year, use 2021 tax information
    • 2024-2025 academic year, use 2022 tax information
  • You may need to verify your tax information with an IRS Tax Transcript.
  • 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. Visit our website for deadline dates

So if you haven’t submitted the CA Dream Act, 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 for the upcoming 2024-2025 school year, no later than January. Starting early will give you enough time to troubleshoot issues with your application and still submit the application on time, by that March 2 deadline.

If you need financial assistance for the current 2023-2024 school year, it’s not too late to apply. Complete your application now, before the June 30, 2024 deadline date.

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!