CA Nonresident Tuition Exemption AB540     

California Nonresident Tuition Exemption

For Eligible California High School Graduates

(The law passed by the Legislature in 2001 as AB540)

Any student, other than one with a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) nonimmigrant visa status (see exception below for students who have been granted T or U visa status), who meets all of the following requirements, shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California Community Colleges.


  • The student must have:
    • attended a high school (public or private) in California for three or more years, or
    • attained credits earned in California from a California high school equivalent to three or more years of full-time high school course work and attended a combination of elementary, middle and/or high schools in California for a total of three or more years, and
  • The student must have graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent prior to the start of the term (for example, passing the GED or California High School Proficiency exam),  and
  • The student must file an affidavit with the college or university stating that he or she has 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.

Education Code Section 68075.6 grants an immediate nonresident tuition fee exemption to eligible Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders and refugee students who settled in California upon entering the United States. This exemption is granted for one year from the date the student settled in California upon entering the United States

Iraqi citizens or nationals (and their spouses and children) who were employed by or on behalf of the United States Government in Iraq. (Pub.L. No.110-181, s1244)

Students who are nonimmigrants who are victims of trafficking, domestic violence, and other serious crimes who have been granted T or U visa status under Title 8 of the United States code, sections 1101(a)(15)(T) or (U) are eligible for this exemption.

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.


The student must file an exemption request including a signed affidavit with the college that indicates the student has met all applicable conditions described above. Student information obtained in this process is strictly confidential unless disclosure is required under law. Students eligible for this exemption who are transferring to another California public college or university must submit a new request (and documentation if required) to each college under consideration. Nonresident students meeting the criteria will be exempted from the payment of nonresident tuition, but they will not be classified as California residents. They continue to be "nonresidents."


To request an exemption from nonresident tuition, complete the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request. Submit it to the Admissions & Records Office with an official copy of your high school transcript. Additional documentation may be required. Call the Admissions & Records Office, 530-283-0202, ext 285 if you have questions.


The California Dream Act extends Cal Grant A and B Entitlement awards, Cal Grant C awards, Chaffee grants, and institutional financial aid to students that meet these criteria as well as the applicable criteria for eligibility for specific types of financial aid. AM 540 does not provide federal student financial aid eligibility for undocumented students. These student remain ineligible for federal financial aid.


More information can be found on the California Dream Act website:

This site provides information using PDF, visit this link to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC software.