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State Law: AB 540

AB 540 Guidelines & 68130.5 Requirements for Eligibility

AB 540 Ineligibility

AB 540 Affidavit

Where do I find the Affidavit?

States Offering Exemption from Out-of-State Tuition to Undocumented Students

What Is AB540?

State Law: AB 540

On October 12, 2001, Governor Gray Davis signed into law Assembly Bill 540 (Stats. 2001, ch. 814) adding a new section, 68130.5, to the California Education Code. Section 68130.5 created a new exemption from the payment of non-resident tuition for certain non-resident students who have attended high school in California and received a high school diploma or its equivalent. Over the years eligibility requirements have been expanded. AB 540 is often referred to as the AB 540 Affidavit or the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption.

AB 540 Guidelines & 68130.5 Requirements for Eligibility

  • Graduated with a California high school diploma or have the equivalent; and
  • attended a high school in California for three or more years; and
  • attained high school credit equivalent to three or more years of full time attendance;
  • or three or more years of high school coursework and attended a combination of California elementary, secondary, and high school for three years or more.
  • or attended a combination of California high school, adult school, and community college for the equivalent of three years or more.
  • or completed an associate’s degree from a California Community College.
  • or completed the minimum requirements at a California Community College for transfer to the California State University or the University of California.
  • 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 (Non-immigrants, as defined by federal law, have been admitted to the United States temporarily and may have been granted one of the following visas: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, TN, TD, V, TROV, NATO.

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 California schools is what prevents a student from qualifying for AB 540. Students can still attend as long as they meet the admissions criteria and are accepted by the college or university but must pay non-resident fees.

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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. To comply with the first purpose, the California State University, the University of California and the California Community Colleges require documentation of high school attendance (grades 9-12) and graduation (or its equivalent) in support of the affidavit.

The second purpose refers to the eligibility for exemption of non-resident tuition. To exempt a student from paying non-resident tuition the Affidavit must be completed prior to enrollment at an institution. The legal document certifies that the applicant is in the process of legalizing his residency status or will file for legal residency as soon as eligible.

By signing the AB 540 Affidavit, the applicant states that “I am a non-citizen without a current or valid immigration status and has filed an application to legalize my immigration status or will file an application as soon as I am eligible to do so.”

The information you provide is declared under penalty of law of the State of California and your signature verifies that the information is true and accurate. It reads as follows: “I, the undersigned, declare under penalty of perjury that the information I have provided on this form is true and accurate. I understand that this information will be used to determine my eligibility for the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption. I further understand that if any of the above information is found to be false, I will be liable for payment of all nonresident tuition charges from which I was exempted and may be subject to disciplinary action by the College or University.”


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Where do I find the Affidavit?


The affidavit is found on campus websites. The format is essentially the same. The CSU will accept the CCC format. The following links will take you to the current versions.

California Community Colleges
University of California

The affidavit and supporting documentation of high school attendance and graduation should be submitted after the admission offer is made to the student and before the student pays tuition and fees. All campuses have the form on their webpage.

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States Offering Exemption from Out-of-State Tuition to Undocumented Students 


Twenty states have a variety of laws allowing undocumented students to attend college. Some have similar laws to California’s AB540. California students hoping to go to out-of-state schools cannot transfer their eligibility from California.

The states that offer these laws include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

For additional information see http://www.nilc.org

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