AB 540 and Tuition Exemptions

This page outlines enrollment fees at San Diego Miramar College—how much it costs to take classes—and the impact your immigration status has on the cost of enrollment. It is possible for undocumented and immigrant students to pay the lesser "in-state tuition" fee if they are eligible for an exemption from paying non-resident tuition under AB 540.

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Tuition | AB 540 | Resident for Tuition Only | Special Immigrant Visa

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Enrollment Fees (Tuition)

The regular enrollment fee is $46 per unit. We sometimes call this "in-state tuition."

The non-resident tuition fee is $331 per unit. This fee is in addition to the regular enrollment fee and must be paid by students who are not residents of California for tuition purposes and individuals who are undocumented but who do not qualify for a non-resident tuition exemption (AB 540).

$46 per unit

This is how much you will pay for one (1) credit if you are a student who is a CA resident, classified as a resident for tuition purposes, or if you qualify for a non-resident tuition exemption under AB 540.

$377 per unit

This is how much you will pay for one (1) credit if you are a student who is not a CA resident, not classified as a resident for tuition purposes, or if you do not qualify for a non-resident tuition exemption under AB 540.

Students should consider their total cost of living while attending college including housing, food, transportation, books, etc. This is called your Cost of Education; to learn more about cost of education at Miramar College visit sdmiramar.edu/services/financial-aid/cost.

Note: the above enrollment fees are accurate as of November 2023. To view a complete fee schedule visit sdmiramar.edu/services/financial-aid/tuition_and_fees.

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AB 540: Non-Resident Tuition Exemption

California Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540) is a 2001 law that allows eligible undocumented students access to "in-state tuition" at public colleges and universities in California and allows those students to apply for in-state financial aid (CA Dream Act).

⭐ To be considered for state-funded financial aid (CA Dream Act) you must be AB 540 eligible.

To be eligible for "in-state tuition" under AB 540, you must meet criteria in three categories (status, attendance, and completion) and you must submit an exemption request (called an AB 540 Affidavit).

You must...

  • Be a U.S. citizen but not a CA resident, or
  • Be a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR; have a Green Card), or
  • Be granted Refugee or Asylee status, or
  • Have Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) classification, or
  • Have DACA, TPS, or VAWA protection, or
  • Hold a T- or U-Visa, or
  • Be undocumented, be out-of-status, or have no lawful immigration status

You must have completed 3 or more years of full-time attendance (or the credit or hour equivalent; see below) at any combination of the following:

  • California high school, and/or
  • California adult school, and/or
  • California Community College (noncredit or credit courses)
Type of School 1 Year Attendance 3 Year Attendance
High School 55 credits 165 credits
Adult School or Community Colleges (non-credit) 420 classroom hours 1260 classroom hours
Community Colleges (semester system) 24 semester credit units 72 semester credit units
Community Colleges (quarter system) 36 quarter credit units 108 quarter credit units

Note: the above table represents full-time attendance.

You must have...

  • Graduated from a California high school, or
  • Earned a high school equivalency (GED, HiSet, or TASC), or
  • Attained an associate degree from a California Community College, or
  • Fulfilled the minimum transfer requirements established for the University of California or the California State University for students transferring from a California Community College (this is uncommon; ask us if this applies to you)

You must submit an AB 540 Affidavit with proof of reported attendance to the Admissions and Records Office before you can be charged "in-state tuition."  You can submit your documents online or in-person.

Use the resources below to determine if you are AB 540 eligible and get one-on-one support by scheduling an appointment.

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CA Resident for Tuition Purposes

To qualify as a California resident for tuition purposes you must verify physical presence in California and intent to become a resident one year prior to the residency determination date (the day before classes begin for a new term). This only applies to U.S. citizens, Legal Permanent Residents (LPR, Green Card holder), some individuals with pending status or protection from removal, and certain individuals in the U.S. with a valid immigration visa.

⭐ This classification is rare and often is not the best option for DACA, TPS, and other potentially eligible students. Talk to a residency specialist in the Admissions and Records Office to discuss your options.

  • The one-year period begins when you are both present in California and have demonstrated clear intent to become a resident of California.
  • The burden of proof is on the student to verify both physical presence in California and intent to make California your residence.
  • Establishing residency in CA for tuition purposes does not make you eligible for the CA Dream Act; you must also be AB 540 eligible to apply for state-funded financial aid.

Student Residency Classification

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Exemption for SIV Holders

Education Code section 68075.6 grants an exemption to nonresident tuition for Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders and refugee students who settled in California after entering the United States. This exemption is granted for one year from the date the student settled in California upon entering the United States.

  • Iraqi citizens or nationals (and their spouses and children) who were employed by or on behalf of the U. S. Government in Iraq (Pub.L. No. 110-181, § 1244).
  • Afghan and Iraqi translators (and their spouses and children) who worked directly with the United States Armed Forces (Publ.L. No. 109-163, § 1059).
  • Afghanistan nationals who were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. Government or in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan (Publ.L. No. 111-8, § 602).
  • Refugee students admitted to the United States under Section 1157 of Title 8 of the United States Code.

🚨Disclaimer: This webpage is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You should contact our legal aid partners at the Higher Education Legal Services or another trusted, licensed legal representative to discuss your unique situation and circumstances.