Financial Aid for Undocumented Students

Undocumented students with confirmed Nonresident Tuition Exemption (AB540) eligibility status may be eligible for state and institutional financial aid. Students should apply for financial aid annually to determine their eligibility for the following programs:

Cal Grants

The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) administers the Cal Grant program, a California-specific financial aid award that helps pay for college tuition and fees. Cal Grants do not need to be paid back.

In addition to meeting the financial criteria and general Cal Grant eligibility requirements, undocumented students who wish to be considered for a Cal Grant must:

  • Submit the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) and their Cal Grant GPA verification by the annual deadline
  • Meet the Nonresident Tuition Exemption (AB540) eligibility criteria
  • Be enrolled (or plan to enroll), at least half time, in a p​rogram leading to an undergraduate degree or certificate at a qualifying California institution
  • Not already have a bachelor's or professional degree
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Have family income and assets below the established ceiling for that year
  • Not owe a refund on any government grant or be in default on a student loan
  • Not be incarcerated
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress

Mo​re information about the Cal Grant program and how to apply is available on the California Student Aid Commission website.

Middle Class Scholarship

This program provides scholarships—for up to four years for undergraduates and for up to one year for students pursuing a teaching credential—to those with family income and assets below the established ceiling for that year. Students must submit the CADAA by the annual deadline to be considered.

The California Student Commission website provides additional information about the Middle Class Scholarship, including complete eligibility criteria.

State University Grant (SUG)

The State University Grant (SUG) program provides need-based awards to help pay the CSU tuition fee for eligible undergraduate, graduate and postbaccalaureate students. When students apply for financial aid with the CADAA, they are automatically considered for SUG funding by their CSU campus. Systemwide, the priority is to award a SUG at least equal to the amount of the CSU tuition fee.

Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Grant 

The Educational Opportunity Program provides assistance to low-income, disadvantaged students who need admission assistance and support services to succeed in college. Applicants must demonstrate academic potential and motivation to succeed, as well as meeting the specified income criteria. Funding for this grant is very limited.


All eligible students may apply for scholarships administered by their campus, as well as systemwide CSU scholarships. Scholarships provide funding that does not have to be repaid. Students may be required to meet certain academic and enrollment criteria to be eligible for specific scholarships.

Students are encouraged to check the website(s) of the financial aid office(s) of the campus(es) that they've applied to or the campus they attend for more information about campus-specific scholarships.

Many private scholarships (sometimes called “off-campus" scholarships) are available from local government and community groups, employers and corporations, unions, nonprofit organizations and other groups. Many high school and community college advising offices, public libraries and CSU Dream Centers also maintain scholarship databases.

For a list of organizations that provide information about private scholarships, visit the Other Resources section of the Calstate.edu website.

California Dream Loan

The California Dream Loan program provides students who meet the Nonresident Tuition Exemption (AB540) eligibility criteria with the opportunity to take out loans to help cover the cost of attending the CSU. Enrolled undergraduate, credential and master's degree students who submit the CADAA by the annual deadline and meet the AB540 eligibility criteria will be considered for the program.

The California Dream Loan is borrowed money you must repay with interest. 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 six-month grace period before you enter repayment. You will be responsible for the interest charged at all other times.

For more information about the California Dream Loan program, contact your campus's financial aid office.

Applying for Financial Aid

The priority application date for 2024-25 is May 2, 2024. If you miss this date, you may still be eligible for financial aid—submit your application as soon as possible.

To be considered for all forms of financial aid, students who meet the Nonresident Tuition Exemption (AB540) eligibility criteria must:

  1.  Submit the CSU application for admission (if not already enrolled at the CSU).
  2. File the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) by the annual deadline. The CADAA is for students who:

    • are undocumented or
    • hold a valid or expired Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) designation or
    • are a U-Visa holder or
    • have Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

    • meet the Nonresident Tuition Exemption eligibility criteria under AB 540, SB 2000 or SB 68
  3. Complete the Cal Grant GPA verification process by the annual deadline to be considered for the Cal Grant program.

Admitted students should carefully read all materials in their admitted student packet. The packet explains all the requirements and deadlines that students must meet to maintain their admission status, as well as containing helpful information to assist students throughout the admission process.

All admitted and continuing students should check their CSU campus email account and/or student portal account frequently. CSU campuses may request additional information in order to determine financial aid awards and students should respond promptly to all such requests for information to prevent delays in processing their financial aid.