Legislation Affecting Undocumented Students

Below is a list of legislations affecting undocumented students, keep in mind that legislations can change at any time.


FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student’s education record.

AB 540: In-State Tuition 

AB 540, authored by the late Assembly Member Marco Antonio Firebaugh became law in 2001. The California state law allows qualifying undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public colleges in California.

To qualify for In-State Tuition under AB 540, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Attend a California High School for 3 or more years
  • Graduated or will graduate from a California High School or have attended G.E.D
  • Registered or are currently enrolled in an accredited institution, stating that you will apply for legal residence as soon as possible.

California Dream Act 

The California Dream Act authorized by Assembly Member Gil Cedillo (Los Angeles), became law through the passage of two Assembly Bills, AB 130 and AB 131.

AB 130 (2012) allows students who meet AB 540 criteria (California Education Code 68130.5(a)) to apply for and receive non-state, privately-funded scholarships for public colleges and universities.

AB 131 (2013) allows students who meet AB 540 criteria to apply for and receive state-funded financial aid such as institutional grants, CAL Grant and CHAFEE Grant.

To be eligible for the CAL Grant, you must submit the GPA Verification Form to CSAC - institutions are included in the form.

The deadline to apply to the CA Dream Act is March 2nd of each year.

Deffered Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

DACA: On June 15,2012 the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines maq request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for word authorization. Deferred action is use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.


  • Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
  • Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS
  • Had no lawful states on June 15, 2012
  • Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school. Have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or in an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanor, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

California DREAM Loan Program 

The California DREAM Loan Program, authored by Senator Ricardo Lara, allows for UC and CSU campuses to administer non-federal loans to undocumented students who meet the CA Dream Act application requirements.

Students who demonstrate financial need can borrow up to $2,000 through the DREAM Loan Program.

Interest rates will be fixed at the same rates as a Federal Direct Loans, with no loan fees. You must submit your DREAM application by the March 2nd deadline to be eligible for DREAM loan.

SB 1159: Professional Licenses

SB 1159, authored by Ricardo Lara, is a new California Law signed into effect January 2016 that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for professional licenses. Learn more about professional licenses, and how this new opportunity can have an impact in your career goals.

AB 60: Driver License 

AB 60 authored by Luis Alejo, was signed into effect January 2015. AB 60 allows qualifying undocumented individuals to apply for a CA driver’s license. For more information, visit the DMV website.