AB 540 Coalition
The College Dream Initiative
California State Universities


What to expect at

The California State University


PROS about the California State Universities:

  • CSU campuses offer hundreds of options in majors from Art to Nursing.
  • Each campus focuses on applied (or hands on) learning.
  • CSU campuses service their “feeder high schools” which means you have priority for admission to Cal Poly, Channel Islands, and Northridge.

CONS about the California State Universities:

  • The cost of a CSU campus will need to be paid 100% out of your own pocket as AB 540 students are not eligible to receive financial aid. 
  • CSU campuses can be impacted.  An impacted campus means that there are more applicants than the school can accommodate.  Any impacted campus can deny you admission if you are outside of their service area, example: San Diego State. 
  • Admissions is based on grades and test scores, you cannot add more information about your struggles, triumphs or challenges in the evaluation of your CSU application.

UC campuses closest to SANTA BARBARA COUNTY:

  • CSU Channel Islands (in Camarillo)
  • Cal Poly SLO (in San Luis Obispo)
  • CSU Northridge (in Reseda – Northern LA)

Admissions Information

  • WHEN TO APPLY: An online application is available October 1st.  Submit the application  no later than November 30th (of the year prior to enrollment).  
  • RESEARCH! Look at the different campuses, majors, campus sizes, and the student support programs which can help you be successful.  
  • ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS: All CSU campuses have the SAME admissions requirements.
  • FRESHMAN Admissions – 1) Complete the A-G requirements with a grade of C or higher by the end of senior year.  2) Take required admissions exams by December of your senior year: SAT Reasoning or ACT
  • TRANSFER Admissions – If you start at a California Community College you are guaranteed a space in a CSU campus as a transfer student!  Read Senate Bill 1440 for details!
  • FILE AN AFFIDAVIT: when you apply you need to file your affidavit.  Some CSU campuses will also ask for a transcript with senior year first semester grades.  Make sure to read the CSU mentor page for details and instructions.  The application instructions are different for each CSU campus!

PAYING FOR a CSU campus –
Financial Aid/Scholarship Information

  • RESEARCH PRIVATE SCHOLARSHIPS!  Use websites like Latino College Dollars to find other scholarships that are offered by non-profits, businesses, and other groups. 
  • USE THE FINANCIAL AID WEBSITES! Look for the “undocumented student link” on most CSU campus financial aid websites.
  • NEVER LIE!  If a financial aid or scholarship application asks you for your social security number, never list an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) number or any other number.  Just leave the field blank!
  • BE PERSISTENT!  If you find a scholarship  that fits you but you are not sure if AB540 students are eligible, call them and ask if they will accept an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instead of a social security number.
  • TRANSFERRING FROM A COMMUNITY COLLEGE?  Check out the financial aid office at your community college to find out about scholarships that you can take with you to your new school.
  • USE YOUR COMMUNITY! Many AB540 students turn to their communities by setting up meetings with friends and other potential donors.  By sharing your story with individuals, you may be able to gather enough private contributions to pay for college.  During your meeting, share a copy of your resume and emphasize your dreams for the future. Don’t forget to send each contributor a thank you letter and an update of how you are doing in school.  Sending a good report card may help you get contributions for future semesters.
Campus Resource Information

  • Look for a person in the admissions office at the CSU campus you wish to attend. 
  • GET INVOLVED from day one.     



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