Legislation Impacting Undocumented Students

State Policies

Creation of Program or Service

  • AB 540 (2001): Allows certain non-resident students who complete at least three years of full-time attendance or the equivalent at a CA high school, adult school, or California Community College (credit & noncredit) and degree requirements to receive reduced in-state tuition at public colleges and universities.
  • California Dream Act (2011): Allows qualifying AB 540 students to access state and institutional funds to finance their college/university education.
  • SB 1159 (2014): Offers professional licenses to anyone who completes the necessary training and other state licensing requirements, regardless of immigration status. Applicants without a Social Security Number can provide an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) when seeking license.
  • SB 1139 (2016) Prohibits students from being denied admission, based on their citizenship status or immigration status, to a healing arts residency training program whose participants are not paid.
  • AB 1809 (2018): Appropriated $10 million for the Department of Social Services to provide immigration legal services for California Community Colleges.
  • AB 1037 (2018): (Dreamers Service Incentive Grant) This bill would establish, commencing with the 2018–19 academic year, the Cal Grant B Service Incentive Grant Program under the administration of the Student Aid Commission. Funding was proposed in the 2018 Budget Act to sponsor this bill. DSIG encourages California Dream Act Application (CADAA) students with a Cal Grant B award to perform community or volunteer service. The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) will award up to $3,000 per academic year (up to $1,500 per semester or up to $1,000 per quarter) to 2,500 eligible students. 
  • AB 595 (2019): Sponsored by Faculty Association for California Community Colleges (FACCC). This bill would authorize a student enrolled in a community college class or classes pursuant to an apprenticeship training program or an internship training program, as defined, who does not have a social security number to use an individual tax identification number for purposes of any background check required by the class or program.

Expansion of Benefits

  • AB 2000 (2014): Expanded the scope of AB 540 by allowing students who graduated early from a California high school with the equivalent of three or more years of credits to also qualify for in-state tuition.
  • SB 68 (2017): Expands the requirements of AB 540 / AB 2000 to include attendance at California adult schools and Community Colleges (credit/no credit) to meet the three years attendance requirements as well as completion of an Associate’s Degree or satisfaction of the minimum transfer requirements to the California State University (CSU) or University of California (UC) to meet the degree or units requirements.

Upholding campus values 

  • SB 54 (2017): The California Values Act aims to protect the safety and wellbeing of all Californians by ensuring that state and local resources are not used to fuel mass deportations, separate families, or terrorize our communities.Ensures that no state or local resources are diverted to fuel any attempt by the federal government to carry out mass deportations and that schools, hospitals, and courthouses are safe spaces for everyone in the community. 
  • AB 1645 (2019): Required California’s higher education segments to designate a UndocuLiaison (Dreamer Resource Liaison) on each of their respective campuses. The program was funded at $5.8 million in the 2020 State Budget and $11.6 million in the 2021 State Budget. Subsequently, the CCC UndocuLiaison Network was established in Fall 2020.
  • SB 554 (2019): This bill would authorize the governing board of a school district overseeing an adult education program or the governing board of a community college district overseeing a noncredit program to authorize a student pursuing a high school diploma or a high school equivalency certificate to enroll as a special part-time student at a community college, as provided.
  • AB 132 (2021): requires public high schools to ensure that their graduating seniors either apply for financial aid or complete an opt-out waiver. That requirement was established in a bill related to the budget (AB 132) that was signed by Gov. Newsom. 
  • AB 469 (2021): requires, on or before September 1, 2022, and each year thereafter, the California Student Aid Commission and the State Department of Education to facilitate the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and the form established for purposes of the California Dream Act, by requiring the department to share the current school year’s roster of pupils with the commission, and requiring the commission to match data on pupil completion of financial aid forms, as specified.

Federal Policies

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) (2012): Became an immigration option for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before the age of 16. Although DACA does not provide a pathway to lawful permanent residence, it does provide a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation, work authorization, and the ability to apply for a social security number. DACA recipients are granted temporary administrative relief from deportation. Individuals who were granted DACA are considered to be lawfully present.
  • Rescission of DACA (2017): The Trump Administration announces that new applications for legal status will no longer be considered.
  • DACA Reinstated (2020): Supreme Court finds Trump’s termination of DACA is invalid. New DACA applications are accepted once again.
  • DACA Applications Halted (2021): Federal court rules DACA is unlawful and orders the Biden administration to stop granting new applications. DACA renewals and Advance Parole are still being accepted.