AB540 Nonresident Tuition Exemption
Under Senate Bill 68, a student1 (other than a nonimmigrant alien2) is exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California Community Colleges if the student meets all of the following four requirements, as applicable:
Requirement 1: Attendance at California schools.
This requirement may be met in either of the following two ways:
- Total attendance (or attainment of credits earned) in California equivalent to three or more years of full-time attendance at California high schools, California high schools established by the State Board of Education, California adult schools (established by a county office of education, a unified school district or high school district, or the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation), campuses of the California Community Colleges, or a combination of these; or
Three or more years of full-time California high school coursework, and a total of three or more years of attendance in California elementary schools, California secondary schools, or a combination of California elementary and secondary schools.
Full-time attendance at a:
California community college means either 12 units of credit per semester (or quarter equivalent per year) or a minimum of 420 class hours per year (or semester or quarter equivalent per year) in non-credit courses authorized by Education Code section 84757. Attendance in credit courses at a California community college counted towards this requirement shall not exceed a total of two years of full-time attendance.
California adult school means a minimum of 420 class hours of attendance for each school year in classes or courses authorized by Education Code section 41976, or Penal Codes sections 2053 or 2054.2.
Requirement 2: Completion of a course of study.
This requirement may be met in any of the following ways:
- Graduation from a California high school or equivalent.3
- Attainment of an associate degree from a California community college.
- Fulfillment of the minimum transfer requirements established for the University of California or the California State University for students transferring from a California community college.
Requirement 3: Registration.
Requires registration as an entering student at, or current enrollment at, an accredited institution of higher education in California.
Requirement 4: Affidavit of student without lawful immigration status.
Students without lawful immigration status must file an affidavit with their college or university stating that the student has either 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.
The exemption is not available for students who are absent from California, and are taking distance education classes from California community colleges.
1Under Senate Bill 68, a “nonimmigrant alien” within the meaning 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15) is not entitled to claim the exemption. These provisions identify a number of categories of visitors to the United States who have a form of temporary lawful status, but do not intend to establish residency.
2Withn the meaning of paragraph (15) of subsection (a) of Section 1101 of the United States Code.
3 California General Educational Development (GED), High School Equivalency Test (HiSET), Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC), and California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE).
How do I apply?
- Complete California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request.
- Submit official (sealed or electronic) transcripts, from a high school, adult school, elementary, secondary or combination to validate three or more years of full-time coursework completed at a California school established by the State Board of Education. Home schooling must be validated by the high school district the student would have attended as acceptance of three years of high school attendance.
- Proof of high school diploma or completion GED or high school proficiency exam in California.
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: PDF attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org Please do not send photo attachment of documents.
Non-resident students meeting the criteria will be exempted from the payment of non-resident tuition and are classified as "non-residents" of California. 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. If approved, students will be mailed updated Class Schedule/Receipt with fee adjustments. Denied requests will be notified via student's 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.