AB 540 represents a considerable cost savings to qualified undocumented students and their families. For example, in 2009-2010, total average annual in-state fees for an undergraduate full-time student at the University of California are $9,285. This compares to $32,002 for non-resident students. At the California State University, undergraduate resident students pay $4,026 per year versus $11,160 for non-resident students. At the California Community Colleges, the
annual resident fee is minimally $480, compared to $3,360 for non-residents. To qualify as an AB540 student, undocumented students must:
- Have attended a California high school for 3 or more full academic years (between grades 9 through 12. They do not need to be consecutive years);
- Have or will graduate from a California high school or have attained a G.E.D.; or received a passing mark on the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE);
- Register or be currently enrolled at an accredited institution of public higher education in
- File or plan to file an affidavit as required by individual institutions, stating that he/she will apply for legal residency as soon as possible;
- Not hold a valid non-immigrant visa (F, J, H, L, A, E, etc.)
- An ineligible student is one who does not meet the AB 540 criteria. In most situations, not having met the three years attendance at a California high school is what prevents a student from qualifying for AB 540. Students that do not qualify for AB 540 can still attend a public California college or university as long as they meet the admissions criteria and are accepted by the college or university, but they must pay non-resident fees.