California Dream Act
Learn about your eligibility for certain student financial aid benefits through the California Dream Act, and about an exemption from paying nonresident tuition.
The California Dream Act allows children who were brought into the US under the age of 16 (without proper visas/immigration documentation) to apply for certain student financial aid benefits.
These students must meet certain criteria (as defined by AB 540) to apply for (and, if eligible, receive):
- Privately funded scholarships (eligibility is established by the scholarship donors)
- CSU and SDSU financial aid (like the State University Grant and California Dream Loan)
- State financial aid (like Cal Grants and the Middle Class Scholarship)
Do you meet AB 540 requirements?
You may meet AB 540 requirements if you:
- Attended a California high school for 3 or more years, and
- Graduated from a California high school or passed the GED or California High School Proficiency Exam
- Complete a California Nonresident Tuition Exemption
To request an exemption from paying nonresident tuition and establish your eligibility under AB 540, you must complete and submit a California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request (also called an AB 540 Affidavit) with required documentation to the SDSU Office of Admission. Contact the SDSU Office of Admission for the form and instructions. The form serves 2 purposes:
- To verify that the student meets the educational requirements
- To certify the intent to establish legal residency
CA Dream Act application determines your eligibility
- Apply October 1 through March 2 by completing a new Dream Application and a Cal Grant GPA Verification form (also used to consider you for the Middle Class Scholarship).
- Once you have applied, the SDSU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will create an SDSU AidLink account for you and notify you by email that you may log in to your account and check the status of your application. Your AidLink account will specify what other information or documents you must submit so that we may determine your eligibility.
- If you are eligible, awarded aid will be disbursed during the upcoming academic year.
State financial aid available if you are eligible
If you are eligible according to criteria above, and you have submitted your CA Dream Act appliation, you will be automatically considered for:
- The Cal Grant programs
- The Middle Class Scholarship
- The State University Grant (SUG)
- California Dream Loan
The California Dream Loan is a loan program for undergraduate students with AB540 status and a valid California Dream Act application. Funding is limited.
The California Dream Loan is borrowed money you must repay with interest. The current interest rate for 2021-22 loans is 3.73%. The interest rate for the California Dream Loan corresponds with the interest rate on Federal Direct Subsidized loans and is subject to change annually. The California Dream Loan does not accrue interest while you are enrolled at least half-time, during periods of approved deferment, and during the 6-month grace period before you enter repayment. You will be responsible for the interest accrued at all other times.
CA Dream Loan borrowers may choose either a standard repayment plan or an income based repayment plan. For more information visit heartland.ecsi.net. Under Download Forms search for "California State University (Dream Loans)".
You can pay off your loan earlier without penalty. Typically, you begin repaying your loan at the end of your 6-month grace period after you graduate, leave school, or enroll less than half-time.
How you are notified if you are eligible for aid
If you are CA Dream Act eligible, you are qualified for scholarships that have no residency or citizenship requirements. If the scholarship requires you to demonstrate financial need, you must complete and submit a California Dream Act application.
About the California Dream Act
The California Dream Act of 2011 became law through the passage of 2 state bills:
- AB 130, relating to private scholarships
- AB 131, relating to financial aid administered by the State of California
AidLink & email
The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships communicates with students via AidLink and email. Be sure to check both, regularly.
- AidLink gives you access to your latest SDSU financial aid information, 24 hours a day, every day. Watch a short video to learn more about the financial aid and scholarship application process at SDSU.
- Remember to check the 2021-22 tab in your AidLink account for instructions specific to your California Dream Act application.
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