AB 540 Coalition : The College Dream Initiative

Welcome! Thank you for visiting the AB 540 Coalition of Santa Barbara Homepage.

The AB 540 Coalition of Santa Barbara created this website for Santa Barbara County students to learn about their college options. We invite you to take a moment to learn about us and explore the website!


The AB 540 Coalition of Santa Barbara is a group of local educators from public schools in zone c, community organizations, parents and students. Our mission is to create social change by empowering AB 540 students, parents and allies with the information and tools necessary to access higher education.

The AB 540 Coalition’s objective is to provide information about Santa Barbara County resources, college options, financial aid, and to connect AB 540 students with allies in higher education.

The Coalition works in collaboration with existing community groups to provide workshops and seminars to share resources, create allies, and open dialogue about AB 540.

The purpose of this website is to give AB 540 students and their families a public forum and allow community members an opportunity to educate themselves thus creating social change.


UndocuConference, Dare to Dream. April 28th, 2018. Please check AB 540 College Night tab for more information
CAL STATE APPLY Resource Guide for Undocumented Students:
Resources to understand DACA and effects on resources for current CA students:
Please click on the following links:
Education For Fair Consideration ITIN Guide. Please click on the link below
Letter in support of DACA by UC, CSU, and CCC. Please click on the link below
Oportunities For Scholarships. Please click on the site below:
University of California Has $8 million Plan for Undocumented Students. Check the link below:
Colleges “Friendly” to AB 540 Stutends
Please click on the link below for more information
This Operations Memo from the California Student Aid Commission (Commission) provides an update regarding the California Dream Act Application and the Selective Service registration process for male students.
For more details, please view GOM 2015-15 on the following link:
University of California (Undoucmented Student Resources)
Expansion of the DACA Program, announced on Nov 20, 2014
Please click on the link below:
The DACA Renewal Process
Please click on the link below:
A national research project focusing on the voices of undocumented college students
Please click on the link below:
College Night 2013 videos (Part 1- Part 10)
California Dream Application Instructions
College Board Releases Guide for Undocumented Students
Please check the link below:
The Kids Behind The Dream Act Video
DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
The Obama administration announced today that it will offer indefinite reprieves from deportation for young immigrants who were brought to the country as minors and meet other specific requirements. The move, hailed by immigration advocates as a bold response to the broken immigration system, temporarily eliminates the possibility of deportation for youths who would qualify for relief under the DREAM Act, giving Congress the space needed to craft a bipartisan solution that gives permanent residence to qualifying young people. In a statement from the White House, President Obama said the policy was “the right thing to do,” calling DREAMers “Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every way but one: on paper.”

California Dream Act
California Dream Act: The California Dream Act of 2011 is the result of two bills, Assembly Bill 130 (AB 130) and Assembly Bill 131 (AB 131). Together, these bills allow undocumented and documented students who meet certain provisions of AB 540 law to apply for and receive private scholarships funneled through public universities (AB 130), state-administered financial aid, university grants, and community college fee waivers (AB 131).

AB-130: This bill provides that, on and after January 1, 2012, a student attending the California State University, the California Community Colleges, or the University of California who is exempt from paying nonresident tuition under AB 540, shall be eligible to receive scholarships derived from non-state funds received, for the purpose of scholarships, by the segment at which he or she is a student.

AB-131: This bill requires that as of January 1, 2013 the Trustees of California State University, the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, and the regents of the University of California (approved by regents), to establish procedures and forms that enable students who are exempt from paying nonresident tuition, under AB 540, or who meet equivalent requirements adopted by the regents, to apply for, and participate in, all student aid programs administered by the State of California to the full extent permitted by federal law.

California Dream Act application tutorial for most of the California UC Campuses:


It is important to remain updated on legislation and policy updates that affect dreamers and undocumented individuals. We have created a movement that continues to fight for the rights of students and families across our nation. Please familiarize yourself with the CA DREAM Act, Deferred Action, and the Federal DREAM Act. Each is relevant to your journey as an undocumented student. We must continue educating ourselves and our community. Please take a look at the following websites for continued updates on legislation, ways to get involved, and immigration policy as a whole.

AB 540 Resources

What can you do as an AB 540 student?

We provide you with information, options and your rights as an AB 540 student. We go into detail about:

Rights & Responsibilities - Information about the law and what you can do as an AB 540 student.

The law allows students the following rights under AB 540 legislation:

A student who is applying to a California Community College (CCC), California State University (CSU) or University of California (UC) campus will file their application and is responsible for:

Financial Aid - Opportunities available for you when it comes to paying for college.

I’m an AB 540 student, How Do I Pay for College?

As an AB 540 student, you will not be able to access federal aid, but there are other resources that can help you. With AB 130 and AB 131, state aid and university endowments are options for students. You will need to have the best GPA possible, a strong list of extracurricular activities, and a great deal of determination. It is challenging to pay for college- but not impossible!

General tips:
Apply! Begin applying to scholarships as early as possible- even during your 9th grade year.
Work! Talk to your parents about working a part-time job during the summers or after school.
Save! Talk to your parents about starting a savings account so that you can earn interest.
Choose your college wisely! Read the “College Options” section and make sure you understand which college path will be best for you. Some colleges are much less expensive than others.
Source #1: California State Aid - BOG Waiver (first type of state aid)

BOG waivers are free money for California Community College Students. They are based on financial need. BOG waivers are not loans – they will not need to be repaid. BOG waivers will be available to Dream Scholars after January 1, 2013.

1- Complete the California Dream Application at
www.caldreamact.org OR

2- Complete the BOG Waiver Application at your college
financial aid office.

If you qualify for the BOG waiver, your units will be paid for. There is no additional funding for books, housing, or other expenses.

Visit www.caldreamact.org, talk to your school counselor, or call your college’s Financial Aid Office.

Source #1: California State Aid - Cal Grants (second type of state aid)

Cal Grants are free money for college. They are not loans and do not need to be repaid. Cal Grants are based on financial need, GPA, and other factors. Cal Grants may be used for tuition and fees at California colleges and universities only.

Complete the California Dream Application at www.caldreamact.org . Students who need money in Fall 2013 should be sure to complete the application between Jan 1 to March 2, 2013. Cal Grants will be available starting Fall 2013.

Currently, Cal Grants can be up to $12,192 at UC school, $5,472 at CSUs, and $9,708 at private schools. Note that these amounts are subject to change each year.

Visit www.caldreamact.org, talk to your school counselor, or call your college’s Financial Aid Office.

Source #2: College-Based Aid

Complete the California Dream Application at www.caldreamact.org . Some colleges and universities will also have a separate mandatory application. College-based aid will be available starting Jan 1, 2013.

These scholarships vary by school, but can be worth thousands of dollars!

Call your college or university Financial Aid office and find out what is required. This step is very important! Students at SBCC and Allan Hancock: look at these pages and read about AB540 scholarships for these local schools:

Source #3: Private Scholarships

Every organization has its own application requirements and deadlines.

These scholarships vary by organization, but can be worth thousands of dollars!

Dedicate yourself! Apply to as many scholarships as you can- but be sure that you meet eligibility requirements.

Source #4: Personal Fundraising
Don’t forget to let your extended family, friends, and community know that you have decided to go to college- they may be able to support you as well!

Write a personal letter that explains your future academic and career goals. Make sure to include the accomplishments you have already earned. Send this personal letter to contacts that you trust. Ask them to consider supporting your academic career by donating money to your college fund.
Talk to your friends and family and make a list of trustworthy contacts that may be able to help you financially. Make a personal meeting with these people and tell them your story. Bring your letter and a resume or grade report. Be polite, and say thank you even if they cannot help.
Every dollar counts! It might be hard to ask your community for money, but remember- every successful person has had to ask for help when they needed it. Most people will greatly respect your dedication.
Make sure that you thank anyone who donates to you. Send them a grade report at the end of each semester and ask them politely to continue helping you make your college dream come true.
If you are shy, you may find it easier to work with other AB 540 students. Collaborate and brainstorm fundraisers and strategies. Some fundraisers that local groups have held for AB 540 students include:
Car Washes
Food Sales
Garage Sales
Money Drive on PayPal (set up a PayPal account online and email your supporters to give)
Events (such as holding a dance or movie screening and selling tickets)

Naturalization & Advice - AB 540 is not a path to citizenship.

AB 540 is NOT a path to citizenship. To learn more about residency and citizenship here are some things you should know:*
Every student’s story is different.
The path to citizenship is individual and you should seek legal or professional advice for your situation.


300 N. Turnpike Road, Room 22
Santa Barbara, CA 93111

Mondays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.- 7 p.m.
Fridays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

PHONE: 805-683-8270
FAX: 805-683-8279

Arnold S. Jaffe, Attorney at Law

330 E. Carrillo, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

(805) 897-0066 Fax (805) 897-0064

For more information view the website

Community Organizations - There are organizations and community groups which are wonderful resources to help you be a successful college student.


PUEBLO Action Fund is a 501©4 non-profit economic and environmental justice organization dedicated to building the political power and leadership of low-income residents throughout Santa Barbara County.

La Casa De La Raza:
The mission of La Casa de la Raza is to develop and empower the Latino community by affirming and preserving the Latino cultural heritage, providing an umbrella for services and by advocating for participation in the larger community.

The FUND for Santa Barbara:
A non-profit community foundation that supports grassroots organizations working for social, economic , environmental, and political change in Santa Barbara County.

This new foundation provides scholarships to AB 540 students who graduated from high school in Santa Barbara County. The 2014-2015 application cycle is open now. Apply by January 31, 2015! www.adsumsb.org

211 Santa Barbara County HelpLine:
2-1-1 is an easy to remember phone number for non-emergency information and referral, crisis intervention, and suicide prevention. 2-1-1 is to health and human services what 911 is to emergency services.

Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara:
The Scholarship Foundation can provide free financial aid advising for all students in Santa Barbara County. Call (805) 687-6065 to set up an appointment.


IDEAS (Improving Dreams, Equality, Access, and Success)- UCSB Chapter
A community organization to encourage, promote, and further the education of immigrant students; by providing social networks, academic, and financial resources. IDEAS plans to carry out, foster, and advocate for an accessible university education.

IDEAS (Improving Dreams, Equality, Access, and Success)- SBCC Chapter
Serve as a base for the mobilization of young people in the larger social movement for equal access to education, immigration reform, and social justice.

Cal SOAP prepares low-income, first generation junior high and high school students for college by offering tutoring, campus visits, and workshops.

Freedom4Youth serves youth in the juvenile justice system by creating opportunities for self-realization, transformational leadership and community integration as they exit confinement and return to their family, school, and society.

College Options

Looking for a college/university that is the right fit for you can be challenging. We have listed your college options in California to the left. Take a moment to learn about what your options are and see if that college is the right fit for you:

For each system of higher education in California you can learn:

AB 540 College Night

Every year the high schools in Santa Barbara and Carpinteria unite to educate the community on higher education options for AB 540 students. If you are an AB 540 student who is interested in learning about higher education or if you are a community member trying to understand AB 540 legislation we invite you to join us for the 10th annual AB 540 College Night.

Getting Involved

Support programs are offered at college and university campuses across the state.

*If a school you are interested in attending is not listed above please do your best to research whether that specific campus has an undocumented student support group (Use Google, search engines, call the school counselor, go to the campus and inquire about resources for undocumented students etc.). If the school you will be attending does not currently have a support group for AB540/ Undocumented students, please feel encouraged to create one.


Contact Us

We welcome your comments and suggestions to make this website the best resource possible for AB 540 students.

Please let us know if you have questions, comments, or feedback on the website.

Email us: ab540

Mailing Address: AB 540 Coalition of Santa Barbara, P.O. Box 60145, Santa Barbara, CA 93160-0145