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.

If you're granted an AB 540 exemption, you will be charged in-state tuition and fees, and not the supplemental tuition charged to nonresidents.

Who is eligible?

  • Students who, for various reasons, are classified as nonresidents, as well as undocumented students, may be eligible.
  • You must meet all of the following requirements to be eligible:
  • Attend a California high school for three or more years (9th grade counts).
  • Graduate (or will graduate) from a high school in California or the equivalent (a High School Equivalency Certificate issued by the California State GED Office or a Certificate of Proficiency resulting from the California High School Proficiency Examination are considered equivalent to high school graduation).
  • You must also have signed the California Nonresident Exemption Request, which states that you meet all the requirements to qualify for AB 540 status and, if you are undocumented, are in the process of adjusting your immigration status (or will do so as soon as you are eligible).

Who is not eligible?

  • Students in possession of nonimmigrant visas (including, but not limited to any 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, TWOV, U*  and NATO) are not eligible for this exemption.
    • *Except for holders of T and U visas: UC policy permits T and U visa holders with approved I-485 applications who meet the requirements described above to be exempt from nonresident supplemental tuition until they are eligible to establish California residency according to UC policy.
  • DACA students who do not meet the AB 540 tuition requirements listed above will not be eligible for the exemption.

How to Apply

1. After you have accepted an offer of admission, submit your Statement of Legal Residence to the campus residence deputy.

2. If you then receive a nonresident classification, the campus residence deputy may provide additional forms for you to complete to determine your eligibility for the AB 540 nonresident tuition exemption. Be prepared to provide official high school transcripts and proof of high school graduation.

Once you're granted the exemption, you won't need to reapply as long as your visa status doesn't change, and you're continuously enrolled in the program to which you've been admitted.