Dreamers FAQ

Can Undocumented Students Go to College?

  • YES! Undocumented students can go to any public college or university in California, if they meet the admissions requirements and are accepted. This applies to freshman and transfer admits.
  • Chabot College welcomes and supports students without regard to their immigration status. Chabot will continue to admit students in a manner consistent with our nondiscrimination policy and without regard to a student’s national origin, religion, age, gender, race or other protected characteristics. Chabot College is committed to creating an environment in which all admitted students can successfully matriculate, graduate and/or transfer.
  • Students can pay in-state tuition at California state schools (CCC, CSU, UC) if they meet the criteria for state law AB-540.
  • Many UC and CSU campuses have undocumented student resource centers and programs to help support students. For UC campuses, visit here. For CSU campuses, visit here.

 

What is AB-540?

CA Assembly Bill AB-540 is a California law passed in 2001 which states that undocumented students who meet certain requirements can qualify to be exempt from nonresident tuition at California public colleges and universities (includes Community Colleges, CSUs and UCs). In 2014, Assembly Bill AB-2000 was passed, expanding the definition to allow additional flexibility for who can meet the requirements. In January of 2018, Senate Bill SB-68 went into effect, which further expands the criteria. This is very important because this exemption allows eligible undocumented students to pay the in-state tuition rate ($46/unit), rather than non-resident student tuition rate ($275/unit, effective Summer 2018 term).

 

Who qualifies for AB-540/AB-2000/SB-68? 

Visit the AB 540 & SB 68 webpage for complete information.

 

Can Undocumented High School Students Participate in Concurrent Enrollment?

Yes, under CA law AB 2364, undocumented and DACA high school students can participate in concurrent enrollment and can apply to have the non-resident tuition fee waived. Students who wish to participate in the concurrent enrollment program, must complete the "Recommendation for Concurrent Enrollment" Packet, including the third page entitled, “AB 2364 California Nonresident Tuition Exemption” and submit to the office of Admissions & Records at Chabot College. Click here for more information on the Concurrent Enrollment Program for High School students.

Please note, students who later wish to attend Chabot College upon graduation from high school will also need to submit the AB 540 affidavit form and accompanying documents to the Admissions & Records Office in order to continue to receive the non-resident tuition exemption.

Is My Information Private?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students privacy rights with respect to their education records. Chabot-Las Positas Community College District’s Board Policy 5040 provides additional privacy protection.

Chabot College will not release any student information, including immigration status or related information in confidential student records, to any member of the public, federal agencies or other parties without prior written consent from the student, a court order or a lawfully issued subpoena, or as otherwise required by law.

Any inquiries made in regards to the student’s immigration status or related student records will be directed to Chabot College’s Office of the President. Chabot College President will adhere to the privacy protection principles above when responding to these immigration-related inquiries.

Also note, not all AB-540 students are undocumented. Many are legal residents. AB-540 forms are worded in a way so as to protect undocumented students from having to declare their status (they are grouped with US citizens and permanent residents). The affidavit says “IF” they are an “alien without lawful immigration status,” then they will pursue a means to change their immigration status when it becomes available.

Click here to read Chabot College's full privacy statement in support of all students.

 

Can AB-540 eligible students qualify for financial aid?

Visit the CA Dream Act webpage for complete information

 

Are there scholarships available for undocumented students?

Visit the CA Dream Act webpage for complete information

 

CA Dream Act vs. Federal Dream Act – what is the difference?

Do not confuse the CA Dream Act (which provides state financial aid to undocumented AB-540 eligible students) with the proposed Federal Dream Act. The Federal DREAM (Development, Relief and Education, for Alien Minors) Act is a federal proposal that if passed would provide many undocumented students with a legal path to citizenship. However, it has not yet passed in Congress. Because of this proposed act, many undocumented students refer to themselves as "DREAMers."

 

What is DACA?

As of 9/5/17, the Trump Administration announced the DACA program will be phased out and terminated; however, as of 1/13/18, USCIS has announced it will again accept DACA renewal applications as a result of a recent court order. For updates and information about this change, click here.

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a 2012 Obama administration policy shift. DACA allows qualifying individuals to apply for a temporary (2-year) work permit, temporary Social Security number (valid for work authorization only), and protection from deportation. Students can reapply every two years. DACA does not grant lawful immigration status or provide a path to citizenship, and is only a temporary measure.

DACA recipients who meet AB-540 criteria can apply for California State Financial Aid by submitting the CA Dream Act Application. DACA does not make students eligible to apply for FAFSA.

Students who are DACA recipients may also be eligible to be reclassified as CA residents. To be reclassified, submit the Petition for Reclassification of Residency to the Office of Admissions and Records. This petition will require supporting documentation and should only be submitted if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • You currently hold an immigration status (like DACA) that is eligible to establish California residency and you have had (or applied for) that status at least 366 days prior to the start of the term.
  • You have been physically present in California with the intent to make California your home for other than a temporary purpose at least 366 days prior to the start of the term.

 

Who is eligible for DACA?

As of 9/5/17, the Trump Administration announced the DACA program will be phased out and terminated; however, as of 1/13/18, USCIS has announced it will again accept DACA renewal applications as a result of a recent court order. No initial DACA applications will be accepted. For updates and information about this change, click here.

The main eligibility criteria for DACA are:

  • You must be 15-30 years old to apply
  • Under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012 (the date of the President's announcement)
  • You must have arrived in the U.S. before you turned 16
  • In order to apply, you must be continuously present in the U.S. for a minimum of 5 years
  • You must have been present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012
  • You are currently in high school, have earned a GED or high school diploma, or have been honorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces
  • You must have a clear criminal record

 

Post-college Options for Dreamers

Many undocumented students have questions about what options are open to them after graduating from college. Students with DACA are granted 2-year work authorization, which opens up a wide variety of internship and career opportunities. California SB 1159 allows for all individuals seeking a professional license to apply with either a federal Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or Social Security number (SSN). Other options include graduate or professional school, participating in an LLC or independent contracting.

  • Immigrants Rising has a number of excellent guides on Entrepreneurship
  • The Immigrants Rising "Life After College" Guide explores graduate school, professional schools, and work options for undocumented students
  • Pre-Health Dreamers have a number of resources and guides for students interested in working in the medical and allied health fields.

Disclaimer

Please note, the information on this website is general in nature and serves as a guide. Information may be subject to change without notice.  Please consult the resources provided on this website for more information. Immigration laws are complex and subject to change. Please consult with an immigration attorney regarding questions pertaining to immigration and legal status.