The California Dream Act allows undocumented students, DACA recipients (valid or expired), U Visa holders and students under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), who qualify for a non-resident exemption under Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540), Senate Bill 2000 (SB 2000) and Senate Bill 68 (SB 68), to receive certain types of financial aid such as: private scholarships funded through public universities, state administered financial aid, university grants, community college fee waivers, and Cal Grants. More information about non-resident tuition exemptions and AB540 can be found here. In addition, the California Dream Act, allows eligible students to pay in-state tuition at any public college in California.
Who is Eligible?
Students who live in California and meet the eligibility requirements for a non-resident exemption, as well as students who have a U Visa or TPS status, can use the California Dream Act Application (CADAA). Similarly, students without Social Security Numbers or students who have lost DACA status (or never applied for DACA), may still be eligible. The full language of the law and eligibility requirements is stated in CA Education Code 68130.5.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application is meant for students who are U.S. citizens not for students who are undocumented, DACA-mented, or other non-citizens and out-of-status individuals.
Know Your Applications
FAFSA - Read full eligibility requirements here.
CADAA - Read full eligibility requirements here.
If you have further questions, including how to ensure you are completing the correct financial aid application, you can visit the Immigrants Rising website and review the document titled, FAFSA VS CA Dream Act: Apply to the Correct Financial Aid.
Still not sure which application to complete? Make an appointment with the Miramar Dreamers Support Office.
California Dream Act Application (CADAA)
The application can be found at dream.csac.ca.gov. The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) processes the application and any aid received can only be used at eligible California public or private institutions. For a list of eligible schools click here.
To maximize your chances for a Cal Grant award, a completed financial aid application and a certified Grade Point Average (GPA) must be submitted by the March 2 deadline. The online and paper application for the next academic year will be available October 1st. Students attending a CA Community College can usually access the application as early as September 2nd. For faster processing time, the CSAC recommends completing your application online.
After you submit your application, review the Confirmation Page to identify and fix any errors that need correction. After the initial successful submission of your application, the CSAC will send you an email with your nine-digit Dream ID number. If you haven’t received an email from them, be sure to check your spam/junk folders. Keep your nine-digit Dream ID number in a safe place; you will use your Dream ID number to create a WebGrants 4 Students account, when you talk to your college(s), or the CSAC. After completion of your CADAA, you MUST create a WebGrants 4 Students account at mygrantinfo.csac.ca.gov in order to check the status of your Cal Grant eligibility.
After completing the CADAA, the CSAC will send your application data to all the colleges listed on your application, including Miramar College. Qualifying for a Cal Grant is NOT automatic, it is a need-based program. You must meet financial income and asset eligibility and GPA requirements. After receiving your CADAA and GPA, the CSAC will process your application to determine if you are eligible to receive a Cal Grant. Additional information on how to apply for a Cal Grant can be found at www.csac.ca.gov/how-apply.
How Safe is Filing a CA Dream Act Application?
“The information provided via the California Dream Act Application is used solely to determine eligibility for state financial aid and isn't shared with the federal government or used for immigration enforcement purposes. The CSAC will protect this information to the fullest extent of the law."
To read the full statement click here.
I Am an Undocumented Student - Am I Eligible for Federal Student Aid?
No! Undocumented students are NOT eligible for federal student aid. If you attend an eligible California public or private institution, you will be considered for California state financial aid. Your college or university will determine your financial aid eligibility. Submit your CADAA by March 2 to maximize your financial aid options.
I Do NOT Have a Social Security Number - Can I File a CADAA?
Yes! Students are not required to have a Social Security Number to submit the CADAA. However, students will need to meet the non-resident exemption requirements under AB 540/ SB 2000/ SB 68 to receive state aid.
I DO have a Social Security Card, But It Says, “Valid for Work Only with DHS Authorization,” - Can I File a CADAA?
Possibly; keep reading. A Social Security card with this designation is issued to people lawfully admitted to the United States on a temporary basis who have Department of Homeland Security (DHS) authorization to work. Only if you meet the non-resident exemption requirements can you file a CADAA.
I Hold a Temporary Non-Immigrant Visa - Am I Eligible to Complete the CADAA?
No! Students who hold a temporary nonimmigrant visa are not eligible to complete the CADAA. The exception is the U Visa. For a list of “temporary” non-immigrant visas, please visit the USCIS website for temporary workers.
I have a T or U Visa - What's the Difference, and Which Application Applies to Me?
Good question; keep reading. The “U” Visa provides eligible crime victims with legal status to temporarily remain in the U.S. while assisting law enforcement. The “T” Visa is set aside for those who are or have been victims of human trafficking and allows victims to remain in the United States to assist in an investigation or prosecution of human trafficking. AB 1899 allows “T” and “U” Visa holders to be eligible to apply for, and participate in, all student financial aid programs and scholarships administered by a public postsecondary educational institution or the State of California. U Visa holders should file the CADAA, T Visa holders should file the FAFSA.
Does My Parent’s Citizenship Status Affect My Eligibility for Financial Aid Under the California Dream Act?
No! Your parents’ citizenship status does NOT impact your eligibility to receive financial aid. The CADAA and FAFSA do not contain any questions asking for this information and your parent's immigration status isn't considered in any financial aid decisions.
What Documents Will I Need?
- Your parents and your FSA ID (For FAFSA filers ONLY) or Dream Act Account (For CADAA filers)
- Driver's License, if you have one
- Social Security Card, if you have one
- Alien Registration Card, if you have one
- ITIN, if you have one
- List of colleges you are interested in to list on the applications
- Most current bank statements
- Any records of untaxed income
- 2019 tax information (1040’s and W2’s)
- This includes your parents' tax information if you are a dependent student.
- Am I an independent or dependent student?
What is an FSA ID? An FSA ID is a username and password that gives you access to Federal Student Aid’s online systems and can serve as your legal signature.
Still have questions about the FAFSA or CADAA? Attend one of our Dreamers Workshops! The CSAC Statewide Cash for College webinars are another good resource. They provide students and their families information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and California Dream Act Application (CADAA).
San Diego Miramar College Financial Aid Information
The school code for San Diego Miramar College is 014172
Have other financial aid questions? Connect with a financial aid staff member on U-Chat available on the Miramar College Financial Aid webpage or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Then follow Financial Aid on Twitter: @sdmiramarfinaid and Instagram: @sdmiramarfinaid.
Dreamers Financial Aid Outreach Specialist: Florencia Alvarado, email@example.com.