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Dream Act/AB540

California Dream Act Application tips

Not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident? You still may qualify for financial aid due to recent changes in California law. You could be eligible if you meet the following requirements:

1. Time and coursework requirements (either one)

Attendance for three full-time years, or the equivalent at any combination of the following:

  • California high school
  • California adult school (including non-credit courses offered by a California community college)
  • California community college (maximum of two years of credit-bearing courses can count toward this requirement)


Three years of California high school coursework and three years of total attendance at a California elementary school, California secondary school, or any combination of the two.


2. Degree or unit requirements (one of these)

  • Graduation from a California high school (or attainment of the equivalent)
  • Attainment of an associate’s degree from a California community college
  • Fulfillment of minimum transfer requirements from a California community college to a UC or CSU campus Students holding most nonimmigrant visas (e.g., F or J) are not eligible.

What's available

  • Privately funded UC scholarships
  • Other UC scholarships and grants
  • Cal Grants
  • California Dream Loan
  • Campus funded work-study for AB540 students with DACA work permits (Not available at all campuses)

More good news: Grants and scholarships don’t have to be repaid like a loan. They’re simply cash awards you receive to pay for college—as long as you meet eligibility requirements.


What you need to do

  1. Submit the 2021-22 California Dream Act Application at starting October 1, 2021 and no later than March 2, 2022.
  2. Make sure your school-certified GPA is submitted to the California Student Aid Commission to be considered for a Cal Grant by March 2, 2022.
  3. Respond to all UC campus requests for additional information.

What you need to fill out the Dream Act Application

Student identification information

You’ll be asked to enter personal identification information such as your name, permanent mailing address, citizenship status, Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (if you have one), Statewide Student Identification number (if you have one), Social Security number (if you have one) or Alien Registration number (if you have one). Note: Most males between 18-25 must be registered with the Selective Service to receive state aid.

Grade level 

If you applied to UC, CSU, or other Private Universities as a freshman, select “Never attended college/1st year."

College degree or certificate

Select "1st bachelor degree” even if you plan to earn advanced degrees in the future.

School selection

This section must be completed accurately to ensure that the colleges and universities you have applied to will receive your California Dream Act application information. You must indicate at least one California college or university to be considered for a Cal Grant.

To help the California Student Aid Commission determine your Cal Grant eligibility, it’s best to list a UC campus or other California four-year college or university first.

Dependency Determination

If you answer “No” to each question, at least one of your parents must complete the parent information questions and sign the form. You will be considered dependent even if another college or university determined previously that you were independent.

Number of family members

Include yourself, your parents and any other members of the household who receive more than half of their support from your parents.

Number of college students in the household

Include yourself (regardless of how many units you plan to take), plus any other household members (excluding your parents) who will be enrolled in college at least half time in 2021-22.

Parent financial information

Provide your parents’ income/tax information from 2020. If your parents filed taxes in 2020, you should use the information they submitted on their tax forms. If they didn’t file taxes, your parents can use information from their W-2 forms.

Student financial information

Provide your income/tax information from 2020. If you filed taxes in 2020, you should use the information you submitted on your tax form. If you didn’t file taxes, you can use information from your W-2 forms.


You (and either parent, if you’re a dependent student) may sign electronically using a State Student Aid PIN, or print, sign and mail the signature page. The Dream Act application includes the prompts for setting up these PINs when you choose to sign electronically.

What you need to submit for Cal Grant

If you’re a California resident or you graduated from a California high school, you may be eligible for a Cal Grant. To be considered, in addition to filling out the Dream Act application, make sure your school-certified GPA is submitted to the California Student Aid Commission by March 2, 2021.

What's next?

Immediately after submitting your Dream Act application with your student signature (and parent signature for dependent students), you’ll be able to review your application confirmation page. The confirmation page will explain any additional steps to take to finalize your Dream Act application. You also will be able to access and print your California Student Aid Report (look for the “Cal SAR” tab in your online Dream Act Application). If any information is incorrect, or if you want to add to or change your school selections, make the changes on your Dream Act application.


If you are selected to receive a Cal Grant, you also will get a California Aid Report. You can check the status of your Cal Grant application at WebGrants for Students:

After you’re admitted to a UC campus, you will receive a financial aid notice (most likely through the campus portal) with a summary of the estimated costs of attendance and the financial aid options for which you are eligible.