The California Dream Act is the name for two Assembly Bills passed by the California legislature in 2011, which allows certain students to apply for and receive state based financial aid and institutional scholarships. These laws increase financial aid opportunities for AB 540/AB 2000/SB 68 students, including U Visa Holders and TPS Recipients.
AB 130 Effective January 1, 2012: Allows eligible AB 540/AB 2000/SB 68 students to apply for & receive scholarships at California public colleges and universities that are derived from non-state funds.
AB 131 Effective January 1, 2013: Allows eligible AB 540/AB 2000/SB 68 students to apply for and receive financial aid at California public colleges and universities that are partially derived from state funds.
To qualify for state aid under AB 131, students must submit the CA Dream Act Application by the March 2nd priority deadline of each year. First time Dream Act submissions and Dream Act renewals must be submitted by this deadline, or students may miss out on state-based financial aid. Applications submitted after this date may lead to the loss of eligibility for Dream Aid in the upcoming school year. Students can apply online at https://dream.csac.ca.gov/.
Getting Started: What You Need to Apply
To apply for the CA Dream Act, you will need to provide tax and income information from two years prior. If you are considered Dependent, your parent(s) tax and income information will also be required.
Applying for the CA Dream Act Application
The CA Dream Act is now available on October 1st of every year. The priority filing period is October 1st through March 2nd. You may still apply after March 2nd, however, to ensure you receive the maximum financial aid award, be sure to apply by March 2nd every year!
Top 10 Tips to Successfully Apply for the CA Dream Act Application
- Create Your User ID and Password. If you are creating this login information for the first time, make sure to save them, as you will use this on future Dream Act Applications.
- Entering your ITIN, SSN, or SSID is optional. You are not required to enter your Individual Tax Identification Number, your Social Security Number, or your Statewide Student Identification Number.
- Males 18-25 must register for Selective Service. Selective Service registration is required to receive state financial aid. Males under 18 can register as early as 17 years and 3 months of age. Males 26 or older must contact the Financial Aid Department for specific instructions.
- List Your Citizenship Status as “No, I am not a citizen or eligible noncitizen.” You should select “not a citizen or eligible noncitizen” even if you have a SSN through DACA or a U-Visa.
- Tax Return Filers who have not yet filed, must indicate “Will file.” Since the application is using information from two years priors, taxes have most likely been filed. If you or your parent(s) are a late filer, please contact our office.
- Tax Return Non-Filers must indicate “Not going to file.” If you did work, but are not required to file taxes, please make sure to list any earnings and untaxed income.
- Correctly add SF State school code 00115400 to your Dream Application. You can also search by name SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY under College Search.
- If you cannot answer “Yes” to any of the Dependency Questions, you must provide parent information. Your parent must provide the requested tax and income information.
- Household size does not mean everyone who lives with you or your parent if you are dependent. Household size is anyone in the immediate family who receives more than 50% support from a dependent student’s parents or an independent student.
- Make sure to electronically sign your application, and review your confirmation page for errors. If required, your parent will need to sign using the Parent PIN. Your parent will need to save this PIN in order to reuse it on future applications. Any errors, such as a missing Parent PIN, will be highlighted in red, and you must correct them in order for your Dream App to be processed successfully.
For more detailed question-by-question information, you can also check out the California Student Aid Commisson’s Resources for CA Dream Act Application.
Special Alert from the California Student Aid Commission
Per CSAC and the California Department of Education’s Joint Letter:
- Losing DACA status will not affect most state financial aid
- California Dream Act applicants do not need to be DACA eligible to receive California state financial aid
- The California Dream Act Application is only used to determine eligibility for state financial aid and is not shared with the federal government or used for immigration enforcement purposes
Cal Grant for AB 540 Students: Verifying your GPA
Students have the highest eligibility of being awarded a Cal Grant when they graduate from high school or transfer to a four-year University from a community college. These grants are known as the High School Entitlement and the Transfer Entitlement Grants. For more information, visit: https://financialaid.sfsu.edu/node/24.
In order to apply for the CAL Grant, you must submit the following BY MARCH 2ND:
a) Your California Dream Application and;
b) A Cal Grant GPA Verification Form
Even students with a Social Security Number through DACA must still submit the Non-SSN GPA Verification Form.
To verify if your school has sent out your GPA Verification, you can go to your WebGrants for Students account. If needed, you can print out the Cal Grant GPA Verification form on your own, have your school fill it out, then mail it to the California Student Aid Commission. Make sure to postmark it no later than March 2nd.