If you are undocumented you CAN attend college or Universities? Yes you can be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher what ever you want.

No institution should denided any student education due of his status. An undocumented student can attedend private, and public colleges, they just can not obtain fanatical aid. They are students in Harvard that obtain all their school pay for, but this students are a few, so what happens to does that do not their full school payed?

Assemblyman Marco Antonio Firebaugh.

In California in 2001 Assemblyman Marco Antonio Firebaugh passed a law called AB540, Assembly Bill 540, that gives undocumented students and documented student the ability to pay instate tuition. When I say documented, it means citizens and residents of the United State, so you may ask how can this law help them? Let me go over the requirements and then I will answer this questions. Unfortunately Marco Antonio Firebaugh past away in the year of 2006, this was a really sad lost for all of us.

The requirements of the law is that a students has to attend high school or Adult school for 3 years or more in California, and this does not have to be consecutive. I say adult school because a student may do 2 years in a California high school and drop our or not graduate, so this student can do 1 year in adult school and he or she will qualified for the law. The other requirement is that the students graduates from high school or adult school and attends a public institution in California, UC, Cal States or Community Colleges. Private school have different fees so they sometimes do not apply this law.

The answer to my question is, if a resident or citizen of the United States full fills all the requirements of the law and they decided to move to another state from more then 3 years then they loss the residency of California, so if this student wants to come back to California and go to school then they will have to pay out of state tuition, but thanks to this law the can qualified for AB540 and pay instate tuition.

AB540 Affidavit

When this students get accepted into a Community College, Cal State or UC then they have to fill an affidavit in Admissions and Records, and this will just verified that they full fill all of the requirements and that they are either undocumented or documented. This affidavit is confidential, due to another law, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), so an institution can not give any information to ICE, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or to any other immigration enforcement such as U.S. Homeland and Security. Students are safe, Admissions and Record do not keep record of how many students are undocumented or are under this law.

As of today they are no laws in California that give undocumented students some time of fanatical aid.


Recently governor Brown pass half of the California Dream Act, AB130, this law will go into effect on January of 2012. Ab130 will allow undocumented student that qualified for financial aid the opportunity to apply for instate scholarships, that in the pass asked for a social security number. The second half of the California Dream Act, AB131, will give undocumented students fanatical aid. As of right now this bill is sitting in the Governor’ s desk waiting to by sing. Governor Brown promised to sign the bill in his elections, which gives hope to all AB540 students.

There are students that unfortunately do  not qualified for this law but they some how manage to attend school and be succedfull. The difference between instate and out of state for:(this does not include parking, or books or room and board)

Community Colleges (full time student 12 units per semester)

  • Instate $460
  • Out of state $2,596

Cal State tuition (full time student)

  • Instate $3,097
  • Out of state $7,528

UC, University of California (full time student)

  • Instate $13,911
  • Out of state $36,789

All thought AB540 helps a lot it is still expensive for students that do not get fanatical aid. Most of this students are low income student, so they become full time students and full time workers, that work in construction, house keeping and anything they can find. This are some of the laws that help undocumented students, but it as of right now their is not path to citizenship, so even if this student become lawyers, doctors, teachers, counselors, and much more they can not do anything with their degrees because they are missing 9digits that are keeping them again from their dreams. Lets keep this students dreams a live and lets continue fighting for the California and Federal DREAM Act.  SI SE PUEDE.


Undocumented, Educated and Unafraid.


About ocbarrios

Professor for Cal State Fullerton's Barrio Studies class for Fall 2011 semester

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