AB 540 Overview


question markAssembly Bill 540 is a law that was passed in 2001 by the California legislature. This law is written for students who are undocumented or U.S. Citizen/Permanent Residents who went to High School in California.  If students meet specific requirements, they are able to pay ‘resident fees’ instead of ‘non-resident fees’ if they attend a CA public institution of higher education.


To qualify for AB 540, students must meet one criteria from each of the first two boxes below AND meet the Eligible Citizenship Status requirement in box three: 

Attendance of California Schools 
  • Attended a combination of California high school, adult school or a California Community College for a minimum of three years (no more than 2 years can be from a California Community College)
  • Completed three or more years of California High School coursework AND attended a combination of California Elementary, Secondary and High School for three or more years
Complete of a Course of Study
  • Graduated or will graduate from a California High School or pass the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE) or get a General Equivalency Diploma (GED, also called a General Educational Development Test)
  • Completed or will complete and Associate of Arts or Associates of Science degree from a California Community College
  • Completed or will complete the minimum requirements for a California Community College transfer to a California State University (CSU) or University of California (UC)
Citizenship Status
  • Eligible Status: US Citizen, Permanent Resident, U or T Visa, Undocumented, Out-of-Status, DACA
  • Ineligible Status: Non-Immigrant students such as F (student visa), B (visitor visa), etc. EXCEPT for U or T Visa

Note: Students who came to the US on an F or B visa and remained after the visa expired would be eligible as they are considered undocumented or out-of-status

To apply for AB 540 status, you must:

Complete and file a “Non-Resident Tuition Exemption” Affidavit with the school. In the case of students without legal immigration status, they must state that they have filed or will file an application to legalize their immigration status as soon as they are eligible to do so.

Download the CA Non-resident Tuition Exemption Form and submit it to Admissions and Records.