What is the California Dream Act?
The California Dream Act is a series of two bills, AB 130 and 131, that allow AB 540 eligible undocumented students in California to apply for in-state financial aid. AB 130 allows AB540 students to apply for scholarships at California public colleges and universities that are funded from non-state sources, and AB 131 allows for AB540 students to apply for in-state financial aid for public universities and colleges.
In order to apply for financial aid through the CA Dream Act, you must qualify as an AB540 student. To qualify for AB540, you must:
- Have attended a California high school (public or private) for at least three years; or
- Attained credits earned in California from a California high school equivalent to three or more years of full-time high school course work and attended a combination of elementary, middle and/or high schools in California for a total of three or more years AND
- Have graduated (or will graduate) from a high school in California, or equivalent (e.g. passing the GED test), and;
- Fill out an AB540 affidavit form. The form can be found on the CSUN Admissions and Records website. CSUN students filling out the AB540 affidavit form must also fill out the CSU Residency Questionnaire, which is also on the above link. Both forms need to be completed and turned in to Admissions and Records in Bayramian Hall (BH) 100.
It is important to fill out the AB540 form in addition to applying to the CA Dream Act!
If you have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), apply for the CA Dream Act — do NOT apply to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Social Security Number (SSN) given through DACA is only valid for employment purposes, not for federal financial aid. Having DACA does not make you eligible for federal financial aid through FAFSA.
How do I Apply?
The CA Dream Act application can be found online.The page has three options — one for first-time applicants, one for a parent signature, and one for returning applicants.
First Time Applicants
Select “New California Dream Act Application.” The application starts out with an eligibility quiz to determine if you qualify for the California Dream Act. The application will ask you to make an account to log on to the application in case you want to return to it later or make edits after you’ve submitted it. Make sure to save your account information!
From there, the application will ask you questions about your student life, your dependency, and your family and parents/legal guardians.
- Student — This section asks for information about you as a student, what high school you went to, tax information and college information.
- Dependency — This section asks questions that are used to determine your status as a dependent or independent student.
- Family and Parents — This section asks for your parents’ information, household size, income and and tax information.
The application remains active for 30 minutes, but the clock resets every time you save your changes. The California Dream Act application will show a description of every question on the right hand side, to further explain each section.
If you want to access your application after you’ve started it, you can access it through the “California Dream Act Application Login” section.
If you’ve previously submitted a California Dream Act application, select “California Dream Act Application Login” to access your application. It will ask you the application year that you want to apply to or change. Most information will carry over from previous applications, with some changes for the year you are applying to.
Parent Signature (for dependent students only)
If you are a dependent student, after you fill out the application and submit it, you need to have a parent or guardian review the information and sign it electronically with a parent PIN. This is a requirement only for students who are considered dependent students.
- If your parent hasn’t applied for a parent PIN, they can apply through this page by submitting the requested information.
- If your parent has a parent PIN, they can access the signature page at the top of the confirmation tab.
Once your parent signs electronically, your application is complete. Make sure to keep your parent’s login information in a secure place! For dependent students, every yearly application needs an electronic parent signature via the parent PIN.
The California Student Aid Commission requires that all schools verify the information of a select percentage of financial aid applicants, including California Dream Act applicants. If selected for verification, you must submit all requested documents in order to be considered for aid. View the Financial Aid Verification Guide for assistance with the verification process and explanation of how to find the necessary information.
What Comes Next?
Log back into your application and check under the “Confirmation” section. If there’s anything else you need to take care of it will show up under “Section I — Action Needed” on the page.
Check the email account you provided in the application to check on the status of your California Dream Act application. You should receive an email from CSUN when the university receives your application. Keep checking your MyNorthridge Portal for notifications pertaining to your financial aid application process.
You will also have to create a WebGrants account to determine whether you are eligible for a Cal Grant. If you are a first-time freshman or incoming transfer student, you may be eligible for a Cal Grant. Visit the Cal Grant accounts page.
If you need help filling out your California Dream Act or if you have questions, feel free to stop by the DREAM Center! We’re located in the University Student Union, Building C. You can also reach us through phone at (818) 677-7069 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.