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Guide for Undocumented / AB-540 / DACA Students


a heart-shape word cloud with the word "welcome" in different languagesLos Angeles City College and LACCD are committed to serving all students including our AB 540/Undocumented student community. This guide is intended to provide general reference information to students, parents, faculty and staff seeking information to support and assist the AB 540/Undocumented student community.

To get involved, contact the LACC Undocumented Student Club, IDEAS @ LACC or, which meets on Tuesdays from 12:30 to 1:30 pm, location TBD.

IDEAS - Improving Dreams, Equality, Access, and Success

LACC has dedicated counselors available to assist the DREAMER/DACA/AB540 students with their education plans, dream application, and other questions. Contact the Counseling Department or visit Counseling Department on the 2nd Floor of the new Student Services Building. You can also talk to a counselor about these specific issues by visiting the Student Union on the second floor room D (the lounge area) on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.

For financial advice and information, please contact the LACC Financial Aid program. Financial Aid website:

LACCD Students

How are Undocumented Students Identified?

  • Identification is Based on Citizenship and Residency Status
  • Undocumented Students are students:
    • who are not U.S. citizens, permanent or temporary residents, refugees or asylees, or visa students, AND
    • who are designated for residency purposes as AB 540 students or foreign non-resident students

How many undocumented students are in the LACCD and at LA City College?

  • In Fall 2015 there were 10,967 undocumented students enrolled in the LACCD colleges
    • 6,465 Credit Students
    • 4,502 Non-credit students
  • This is about 7.1% of all enrolled students
    • 4.6% of Credit students
    • 35.7% of Non-credit students
  • In Fall 2015 there were 2,934 undocumented students enrolled in Los Angeles City College (LACC)
    • 1,050 Credit Students (out of 18,154)
      • 5.8% Undocumented Credit Students
    • 1,884 Non-credit students (out of 3,463)
      • 54.4% Undocumented Non-credit Students

Source: "Undocumented Students in the LACCD: Report on Student Characteristics and Success Indicators." Institutional Effectiveness & Student Success Committee, LACCD, 25 Jan. 2017. 

What is AB 540

WHAT IS AB 540? 

AB 540 exempts certain students from paying nonresident tuition (higher than resident tuition) and allows them to apply for different types of California Dream Act financial aid.

Students must have

1. Satisfaction of either of the following:

  • A. High School attendance in California for three or more years.
  • B. Attainment of credits earned in California from a California high school equivalent to three or more years of full-time high school coursework and a total of three or more years of attendance in California elementary schools, California secondary schools, or a combination of those schools.

2. Graduated or will graduate from a California high school or obtained a Certificate or General Education Development (GED), High School Equivalency Test (HiSET), or Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC).

3. Will register or enroll in an accredited and qualifying California college or university.

4. If applicable, complete(d) an affidavit to legalize immigration status as soon as you are eligble.

5. Do not hold a valid non-immigrant visa (F, J, H, L, A, B, C, D, E, etc.)**

**If you have Temporary Protected Status or hold a U Visa you may be eligible for the California Dream Act.

AB 1899 allows U and T visa holders to also apply for state financial aid. (T visa holders should file a FAFSA, U visa holders should file a CA Dream Act Application)

If you meet the requirements above, you should complete the CA Dream Act Application for financial aid. (A certified GPA is also necessary for Cal Grant consideration.)

Your college is responsible for verifying your AB 540 eligibility. Check with your Admissions Office early in the summer before the Fall Term starts.

(Source: California Student Aid Commission - AC Dream Act)

What is DACA?

What is DACA?

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a federal process that defers removal action of an individual by USCIS for a specified number of years. 

  • It is not the same as financial aid
  • It does not grant lawful immigration status
  • It does allow individuals to apply for an SSN and work authorization
  • Note that the California Dream Act is a state law, separate and distinct from the federal DACA program.

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 may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.


You may request DACA if you:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

For more info about DACA visit 

For more details about the difference between DACA and California Dream Act visit:

(Sources: California Student Aid Commission - AC Dream Act & Consideration of DACA -

For more information about consideration of DACA, visit USCIS and watch the video below. 

What is the CA Dream Act?

What is the DREAM Act?

The California Dream Act allows undocumented and nonresident documented students who meet certain provisions to apply for and receive private scholarships funded through public universities, state-administered financial aid, university grants, community college fee waivers, and Cal Grants.

How to apply for financial aid under the California Dream Act

The CA Dream Act Application (CADAA) is used by undocumented students who meet the eligibility requirements of AB 540. The application can be found at The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) processes the application and any aid received can only be used at eligible California public or private institutions.

The Cal Grant application deadline for students using the CADAA is March 2 prior to the academic year. For Cal Grants offered under the California Dream Act, you must also submit a certified GPA to CSAC.

CA Dream Act Application

Students who meet the AB 540 eligibility requirements are not required to have a Social Security number in order to submit the application. If you have a Social Security number issued by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for work purposes only, that number should be entered on question #8 of the application. Question #8 should be left blank for applicants without Social Security numbers.

For other financial aid and resources for Dreamers visit:

(Source: California Student Aid Commission - AC Dream Act & CSAC Cal Dream Act )

logo for the California Dream Act

Start a new Application or login to your existing application SELECT HERE!

Additional Resources

  • This site is designed to address the most common questions raised by unprotected immigrant students who want a better future.
  • California Dream Network statewide network of existing and emerging college campus organizations who actively address undocumented student issues and who work to create broader social change around immigration reform and access to higher education
  • CARECEN Immigrant rights organization based in LA. Provides community organizing, workshops, classes and legal services.
  • CHIRLA Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). Civic engagement, Community Education, Legal Immigration Services, Organizing and Policy & Advocacy work.
  • Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) Empowering undocumented young people to achieve educational and career goals
  • I Can Afford College Statewide, financial aid awareness initiative sponsored by the California Community Colleges
  • United We Dream Immigrant youth building a movement for justice
  • California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) website to apply for the CA Dream Act Application for financial aid

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