California Nonresident Tuition Exemption under AB540

A non-resident student may be eligible for non-resident tuition exemption under California Assembly Bill 540 (AB540). Students who are non-immigrants [for example, those who hold F (student), B (visitor) visas, etc.] are not eligible for this exemption.


  • The student must have attended a high school (public or private) in California for three (3) or more years.

  • The student must have graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent prior to the start of the term (for example, passing the GED or California High School Proficiency exam). 

  • An alien student who is without lawful immigration status must file an affidavit with the college or university stating that he or she has filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status, or will file an application as soon as he or she is eligible to do so.

How do I apply?

  1. Complete the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request (AB540) form to indicate that you have met all applicable conditions described above.
  2. Submit official (sealed or electronic) transcripts indicating high school graduation or passing the CAHSEE exit exam.  In lieu of high school graduation, you must submit a copy of passing the GED or California High School Proficiency exam with official transcripts.

Submit forms by the following methods:

By mail: Cuesta College Admissions Office, PO Box 8106, San Luis Obispo CA 93403-8106

In-person: Registration Center

By fax: (805) 546-3975

By email: attachment to

Non-resident students meeting the criteria will be exempted from the payment of non-resident tuition, but they will be not be classified as California resident.  They continue to be "non-residents." The California Dream Act of 2011 allows undocumented and documented students who meet certain provisions of AB540 to be eligible for specified financial aid.

Allow 3-5 business days for processing.  Students will be notified via their myCuesta student email by the Admissions Office.

 Statement of Legal Residence - California Residency Classification

Students wishing to request California residency reclassification must submit a Statement of Legal Residence.  The burden of proof to clearly demonstrate both physical presence in California and intent to establish California residence lies with the student in accordance with Education Code 68040.