What is AB 540?
AB 540 is a law that provides in-state tuition benefits for undocumented and out-of-state students who attend or will attend a public university in California.
Under California law AB 540, certain nonresident students are exempt from paying nonresident supplemental tuition. If you're granted an AB 540 exemption, you will be charged in-state tuition and fees and not the supplemental tuition charged to nonresidents.
Resident (In-State) Tuition:
(applies to AB 540 eligible students)
$46 per unit
Non-Resident (Out-of-State) Tuition:
$299 per unit
Eligibility for AB 540
Students (including undocumented students) who, for various reasons, are classified as nonresidents may be eligible.
To qualify for AB 540 status, students must also meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Student must have attended a high school (public or private) in California for three or more years
- Student must have graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent (GED or CA HS Proficiency exam)
- Student must be enrolled in an accredited California institution of higher education
- Student must file an AB 540 California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request Form that includes an affidavit stating they have filed (or will file) an application to legalize as soon as they are able to do so. Completed forms must be submitted to the Admissions and Records Office located in the Student Services building
- Submit a copy of your high school diploma and sealed high school transcripts to the Gavilan College Admissions office for verification.
Effective January 2023
AB 540 (expanded by SB 68 & SB 1141) enables students to count years spent at a California Community College (CCC) and adult school towards eligibility for in-state tuition. Additionally, the completion of an associate degree or satisfaction of the minimum requirements to transfer to the University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) will meet the degree or unit requirements. SB 1141 removed the two-year limit of credits from the California Community Colleges (CCC). These new eligibility criteria expanded possibilities for students educated in CA to qualify for in-state tuition and state based financial aid at CCCs, CSUs, and UCs.
If you previously were not eligible for AB 540 status, you may be eligible with the expansion to AB 540 with SB 68 and SB 1141
If I am undocumented, am I eligible for financial aid?
If you meet the AB 540 eligibility requirements, you may be eligible to receive state-based financial aid as well as scholarships.
It is important to complete the California Dream Act Application every year before March 2 to be considered for a California Promise Grant (which pays for the cost of tuition) as well as Cal Grants (additional cash state aid).
For additional information, visit Financial Aid.
AB 540 Checklist
Complete the following steps if you think you meet AB 540 eligibility. If you are not sure, you can use this tool to help you see if you may be eligible to pay in-state tuition. Please note that the Admissions Office makes all final decisions regarding eligibility.
- Complete the Gavilan College application
- Apply for financial aid by submitting the California Dream Act Application online by the March 2 deadline.
- Submit the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request Form to the Admissions Office along with an unofficial high school transcript. If your transcript does not have your graduation date, you must also bring your high school diploma to the Admissions Office.
California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request
Complete and sign this form to request exemption from nonresident tuition charged to nonresident students.
Once determined to be eligible, you will continue to receive the exemption as long as you fulfill eligibility requirements or until the college or university no longer offers this exemption.
Applying for this exemption does not alter your responsibility to pay, by the campus deadline, any nonresident tuition and associated fees that may be due before your eligibility is determined.
This form should be used instead of residency reclassification if you are undocumented or a U.S. citizen and meet the requirements. This exemption cannot be used if you are not living in California.