What is AB 540?

AB 540 is a way that some undocumented students can achieve a college education. The following narrative will discuss key questions: What is AB 540? What is the history of AB 540? How can a student qualify for AB 540? Why is an Affidavit required? Will US immigration know how to find a student enrolled under AB 540?

State Law AB 540

On October 12, 2001, Governor Gray Davis signed into law Assembly Bill 540 (Stats.2001, ch 814) that added a new section, 68130.5, to the California Education Code. Section 68130.5 created a new exemption from payment of non-resident tuition for certain nonresident students who have attended high school in California and received a high school diploma or its equivalent.

AB 540 Guidelines & 68130.5 Requirements for Eligibility

  • Must have attended a California high school for 3 or more full academic years (between grades 9 though 12, inclusive and does not need to be consecutive years.);
  • Must have or will graduate from a California high school or have attained a G.E.D.; or received a passing mark on the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE);
  • Must register or is currently enrolled at an accredited institution of public higher education in California;
  • Must file or will file an affidavit as required by individual institutions, stating that the filer will apply for legal residency as soon as possible;
  • Must not hold a valid non-immigrant visa (F, J, H, L, A, E, etc.)

AB 540 Ineligibility

An ineligible student is one who does not meet the AB 540 criterion. In most situations, not having met the three years attendance at a California high school is what prevents a student from qualifying for AB 540. Students can still attend the university as long as they meet the admissions criteria and are accepted by the college or university, but must pay non-resident fees.

AB 540 Affidavit

The AB 540 Affidavit serves two purposes: one is to verify that the student meets the educational requirements, and the second is to certify the intent to establish legal residency. Use the Student Affidavit for Exemption of Non-resident Tuition. The affidavit and support documentation of high school attendance and graduation should be submitted after the university makes an admission offer and before the student pays tuition and fees. Student information obtained this way is strictly confidential unless disclosure is required under law.