Admissions Process

If you are a high school or transfer student, you can apply to the California State University through Cal State Apply​.

To apply to the CSU, you should:

  1. Select a CSU campus to attend.
  2. Apply for admission during the priority filing period (October 1 - November 30) by filling out the CSU application at Cal State Apply​.
  3. Research how you will pay for college. If you’re seeking an AB 540 / AB 2000 / SB 68 exemption you will follow the same admission process as any other student. If you are granted an exemption, you will be charged in-state tuition and fees.

Things to Consider When Filling Out Your Application to the CSU

  1. Social Security number. The application will ask you to enter your Social Security number (SSN). If you have qualified for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and have been issued a SSN, you are required to enter that number on your application.
    • If you do not have a SSN, you can leave that item blank on the application and the campus you are applying to will assign you a temporary number.
  2. Residency. Answer all questions about residency (where you live). If you meet AB 540 / AB 2000 / SB 68 guidelines and are being charged nonresident tuition, contact your campus and submit a Califo​rnia Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request form. 
  3. Once you have been accepted to a CSU campus, you should file a California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request form with the school. The request requires that students without legal immigration status state they have filed or will file an application to legalize their immigration status as soon as they are eligible to do so. You will need to submit a separate request to each campus you plan to attend. You do not need to submit a new request if you are continuously enrolled at the same campus.

    For campus-specific information, visit AB 540 / AB 2000 / SB 68 Resources for Students.

    The law requires that the information you share on the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request form be kept confidential.  (See California Education Code §68130.5(d): "Student information obtained in the implementation of this section is confidential.") Student information is also protected by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

If You Have Questions

Contact the Office of Admissions and Records at the CSU campus where you are enrolled, or where you intend to enroll, for instructions on submission of your college application or California Nonresident Tuition form (including deadline) and any additional requirements a campus may have for admission.​

About AB 540 / AB 2000 / SB 68 and the California Dream Act

The following Assembly and Senate Bills allow undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition at the California State University campuses:

  • Assembly Bill 540(AB 540), passed in 2001, grants students meeting certain criteria an exemption from paying resident tuition at the CSU.
  • Assembly Bill 2000 (AB 2000), passed in 2014. This is an expansion of AB 540. It increases the scope of student eligibility for students who graduated early from a California high school with the equivalent of three or more years of credits. If a student graduates early, they must have attended California elementary or secondary schools for a cumulative total of three or more years. It allows students meeting the criteria below to pay in-state tuition, the same as resident students.
  • Senate Bill 68 (SB 68), passed in 2017. This public postsecondary education exemption from nonresident tuition was approved by the governor and filed with the Secretary of State on October 5, 2017. This legislation amended Education Code, Section 68130.5, changing the criteria for students eligible for a nonresident tuition exemption, as previously defined in Assembly Bill 540 (2001). Senate Bill 68 expands the requirements of AB 540/ AB 2000 to include attendance at California Community Colleges and attainment of an associate's degree. 
  • The California Dream Act(Assembly Bills 130 and 131) was signed into law in 2011. Together these bills compose the California Dream Act and give AB 540 / AB 2000 students the right to apply for state financial aid, including Cal Grant A & B Entitlement awards, Cal Grant C awards, institutional grants and community college fee waivers.

AB 540/2000/SB 68 Eligibility 

Certain nonresident students (including U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and undocumented individuals) who have attended, graduated, or achieved the equivalent from a California school may be exempted from paying nonresident tuition. Such students must remain classified as "nonresidents" for residence classification and financial aid eligibility purposes. 

Students seeking exemption from nonresident tuition must satisfy attendance requirements and graduation/transfer requirements.  Students must also complete and submit the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request form, along with supporting documents (i.e., transcripts, proof of attendance) to the campus Admissions and Records Office.


Attendance Requirements

California Education Code Section 68130.5 states a student shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California State University and the California Community Colleges if the student meets the following requirements:


Section A

A total attendance of – or attainment of credits earned while in California equivalent to – three or more years of full-time attendance or attainment of credits at any of the following: 

(i) California high schools.

(ii) California high schools established by the State Board of Education.

(iii) California adult schools established by any of the following entities:

•             A county office of education.

•             A unified school district or high school district.

•             The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

(iv) Campuses of the California Community Colleges*

(v) A combination of those schools set forth in (i) to (iv), inclusive.


Please note that only two (2) years of community college attendance can be used to satisfy this requirement.  A third year must be taken from attendance at one of the schools listed above (i-iii). 

*A year's equivalence at a California Community College is either a minimum of 24 semester units of credit or 36 quarter units.  Only two (2) years of full time attendance in credit courses at the California Community Colleges will count towards the three (3) or more years of attendance. Full-time attendance at a California adult school is a minimum of 420 hours of attendance for each school year.


Section B

Three or more years of full-time high school coursework, and a total of three or more years of attendance in California elementary schools, California secondary schools, or a combination of California elementary and secondary schools.

Graduation/Transfer Requirement

Students must satisfy the graduation/transfer requirement by fulfilling any of the following:

A. Graduation from a California high school or attainment of the equivalent thereof; or

B. Attainment of an associate degree from a campus of the California Community Colleges; or 

C. Fulfillment of the minimum transfer requirements established for the CSU for students transferring from a campus of the California Community Colleges.

California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request

Remember: Students will not be considered for this exemption unless the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request form​ is completed and submitted along with supporting documents (i.e., transcripts, proof of attendance at a California school) to the campus Admissions and Records Office. 

Additionally, a student who was a lawful non-immigrant individual during his/her high school attendance, but who is no longer a non-immigrant (e.g., a student whose valid non-immigrant visa has expired, but who has not applied for any other non-immigrant status or a student who has applied for permanent residence, asylum, or another immigration classification other than as a non-immigrant), is entitled to this exemption provided s/he has met all other requirements for the exemption.

Who Is Not Eligible

If you are an undocumented student ineligible for the AB 540 / AB 2000 / SB 68 nonresident tuition exemption, you will also be ineligible for all federal, state and institutional aid. Your financial aid options to pay for college may include securing a private loan and scholarships.

Students who are non-immigrants (other than those with T or U visa status) -- for example, those who hold F (student) visas and B (visitor) visas -- are not eligible for the AB 540 / AB 2000 / SB 68 nonresident exemption for tuition.

DACA-approved students are not able to apply for federal financial aid (FAFSA) and may not receive services of federally funded university programs. Some DACA-approved students may be eligible to apply for California state aid if they qualify for the AB 540 / AB 2000 / SB 68 nonresident tuition exemption.