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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

Under California law AB 540, certain undocumented and nonresident students are exempt from paying nonresident tuition, also known as out-of-state tuition.

So, if you are granted AB 540 classification, you will only pay the in-state tuition and fees, and not the supplemental tuition, about $30,000, charged to non-state residents.

One additional benefit of AB540 classification includes eligibility for state and university financial aid, which is otherwise not available to undocumented students 

Are you eligible for AB540 classification? 

Undocumented must meet all three requirements below to be eligible: 

1. Time and Coursework Requirement

  • Attendance for three full-time years or the equivalent at any combination of the following: 
    • California high school 
    • California adult school (including non-credit courses offered by a California community college) 
    • California community college (maximum of two years of credit bearing courses can count toward this requirement) 
  • Three years of California high school coursework and three years of total attendance at a California elementary school, California secondary school, or any combination of the two. 

2. Degree or Unit Requirement

Meet one of the following requirements: 

  • Graduation from a California high school (or attainment of the equivalent) 
  • Attainment of an associate’s degree from a California community college 
  • Fulfillment of minimum transfer requirements from a California community college to a UC or CSU campus 

3. Sign Nonresident Exemption Request

Submit a signed California Nonresident Exemption Request (AB540 application), which states that you meet all the requirements to qualify for AB 540 status and whether you are undocumented, are in the process of adjusting your immigration status, or will do so as soon as you are eligible.

Who is not eligible for AB540: 

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 AB540 

*Exceptions 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 recipients who do not meet the AB 540 tuition requirements, listed above, will not be eligible for the exemption. 

Steps to apply for AB540 classification 

  1. After you have accepted an offer of admission to a UC campus, submit your Statement of Legal Residence to the campus residence deputy. 
  2. If you then receive a nonresident classification, the campus residence deputy will ask you to complete the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request (AB540 Application) to determine your eligibility for AB 540 classification. Be prepared to prove you meet the eligibility requirements discussed above. 

Once the residency deputy grants you AB540 classification, you will not need to reapply as long as your visa or immigration status does nochange, 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?  

You have three options. 

  • Email: 
  • Fax: 858-822-3516
  • Mail to: 
    • UCSD Office of the Registrar
    • Attn: Residence Deputy
    • 9500 Gilman Dr., MC 0022
    • La Jolla, CA 92093-0022

Note! Transfer students who had AB540 classification at their community college, must reapply for the classification once accepted to a UC campus. AB540 classification is not transferable from one institution to another. In the same manner, students who are enrolled at a UC campus and take classes at a community college during the summer must apply for AB540 classification with that community college to avoid paying out-of-state fees 

AB540 is huge! 

AB540 classification not only waives the out-of-state fees for undocumented students, it also makes you eligible to request financial aid.

Undocumented students with AB 540 classification may receive state and UC financial aid through the CA Dream Act Financial Aid application. Without AB540 classification, undocumented students can’t receive financial aid from the state or the university.  

Go on to the next section to learn about the CA Dream Act Financial Aid.  

Questions? Not sure if you are eligible for AB540? 

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 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, 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!