FAQ

Undocumented Student FAQs

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?

In order to qualify for AB-540/AB-2000/SB-68 status in California, the student must meet ALL of the following four requirements:

Requirement 1: Attendance at California schools. This requirement may be met in either of the following two ways:

  • Total attendance (or attainment of credits earned) in California equivalent to three or more years of full-time attendance at California high schools, California adult schools**, campuses of the California Community Colleges*, or a combination of these;

OR

  • Three or more years of full-time California high school coursework, and a total of three or more years of attendance in California elementary schools, California secondary schools, or a combination of California elementary and secondary schools.

*Note – Full-time attendance at a California community college means either 12 units of credit per semester (or quarter equivalent per year) or a minimum of 420 class hours per year (or semester or quarter equivalent per year) in non-credit courses.  Attendance in credit courses at a California community college counted towards this requirement shall not exceed a total of two years of full-time attendance.

**Note – Full-time attendance at a California adult school means a minimum of 420 class hours of attendance for each school year in classes or courses authorized by Education Code.

Requirement 2: Completion of a course of study. This requirement may be met in any of the following three ways:

  • Graduation from a California high school or equivalent (such as a GED);

OR

  • Attainment of an associate degree from a California community college;

OR

  • 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.

Requirement 3: Registration. Requires registration as an entering student at, or current enrollment at, an accredited institution of higher education in California.

Requirement 4: Affidavit of student without lawful immigration status. Students without lawful immigration status must file an affidavit with their college or university stating that the student has either filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status, or will file an application as soon as he or she is eligible to do so. This affidavit is confidential and this information will note be shared with other agencies.

In order to qualify for AB-540 status, students must submit the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request form to the Chabot Office of Admissions & Records along with official transcripts/attendance records (high school, adult school, and/or community college) that verify requirements 1 and 2 listed above.

 

AB-2000 also expanded the definition to include students who have been granted T or U visa status.  Please note, students who are nonimmigrants, other than those with T or U visa status as noted above, [for example, those who hold F (student) visas, B (visitor) visas, etc.] are NOT eligible for this exemption.

Please note, AB-540 does NOT establish legal residency for immigrant students or for undocumented students who are eligible for AB-540. It only exempts students from paying non-resident fees. Undocumented students who have questions about their legal residency should consult an immigration attorney.

 

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 student.

 

Can AB-540 eligible students qualify for financial aid?

YES! In 2011, the CA Dream Act (AB130/AB131) was passed, granting undocumented students who meet the requirements for AB-540, access to private and CA state-funded financial aid such as institutional grants, community college Board of Governor’s (BOG) fee waiver, Cal Grant and Chafee Grant.  At Chabot College, undocumented AB-540 eligible students can also now qualify for state funded special programs like Puente and EOPS.  Under CA Senate Bill 1210, the UC and CSU systems are in the process of creating a DREAM loan program for qualifying students starting in the 2015-2016 academic year.

Undocumented AB-540 eligible students (including many DACA recipients) fill out the CA Dream Act Application to apply for financial aid.  Undocumented AB-540 eligible students still DO NOT qualify for federal financial aid (including Federal Student & Parent Loans, Pell Grants and Work Study) and therefore DO NOT fill out the FAFSA.  U Visa holders also fill out the CA Dream Act Application instead of the FAFSA.  To learn more about who can apply and what types of aid are available, please visit the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) website.

Undocumented AB-540 eligible students can apply online for financial aid through the CA Dream Act Application.

The Chabot College Financial Aid website is also a good resource for students filling out the CA Dream Act Application.  On the Chabot College website, go to “Financial Aid” and select “Dream Act” or click here.

 

Are there scholarships available for undocumented students? 

YES! There are many scholarships available that do not require you to be a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident, and do not ask for a social security number.  Visit the Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) website and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) website for lists of available scholarships.  Students can also apply for Chabot scholarships – check the “Chabot Student Life” website every spring for available scholarships.  There are several Chabot scholarships specifically for undocumented students.

 

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.

  • E4FC has a number of excellent guides on earning a living
  • E4FC’s “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.

 

Post-election Updates & Information

*Updated as of 1/18/18

On September 5, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, on behalf of the entire Trump Administration, announced an end to the DACA program. However, As of January 13th, 2018, USCIS announced it will again accept DACA renewal applications as a result of a recent order issued by a U.S. District Court.  Here are the most important points about this update:

    1. DACA is valid until its expiration date.  DACA and work permits (Employment Authorization Documents) will remain valid until its expiration date. To determine when your DACA and work permit expires, look at your I-795 Approval Notice and the bottom of your Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
    2. Initial DACA Applications. People who have never had DACA are not able to submit a DACA application. Only those who have had DACA at some point may submit a renewal application.
    3. DACA Renewal Applications. People who have had DACA in the past may submit a DACA renewal application. There are two different processes depending on when your DACA expired:
      • People whose DACA expired on or after September 5, 2016 can submit a DACA renewal application. Speak with a legal services provider if your DACA is more than six months from expiring since it is unclear what USCIS will do with applications submitted extra early.
      • People whose DACA expired before September 5, 2016 will have to submit their application as if it were the first time. This will include providing evidence that you meet all the DACA eligibility criteria.
    4. Advance Parole.  No new applications for Advance Parole will be accepted.

If you qualify for DACA renewal or have questions about your DACA or legal status, we encourage you to consult with an immigration attorney as soon as possible:

For more information and updates regarding DACA, please visit Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC), The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC).

While the future of the DACA program is unknown, all CA laws, including AB540 and the CA Dream Act remain in place. 

To read the Chabot College statement in support of Dreamer Students, click here.

For additional post-election updates, please check out the resources and links below:

 

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.