Printer-Friendly Info Sheet

Any student, other than one with a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) nonimmigrant visa status (see exception below for students who have been granted T or U visa status), who meets all of the following requirements, shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California Community Colleges, the University of California, and the California State University (all public colleges and universities in California).1


  • The student must have:
    • attended a high school (public or private) in California for three or more years, or
    • attained credits earned in California from a California high school equivalent to three or more years of full-time high school course work and attended a combination of elementary, middle and/or high schools in California for a total of three or more years.2 and
  • 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) and

  • The student 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.

  • Students who are nonimmigrants who are victims of trafficking, domestic violence, and other serious crimes who have been granted T or U visa status, under Title 8 of the United States Code, sections 1101(a)(15)(T) or (U) are eligible for this exemption.3

  • Students who are nonimmigrants, other than those with T or U visa status as noted above, [for example, those who hold F (student) visas, B (visitor) visas, etc.] are not eligible for this exemption.

  • The student must file an exemption request including a signed affidavit with the college that indicates the student has met all applicable conditions described above. Student information obtained in this process is strictly confidential unless disclosure is required under law.

  • Students eligible for this exemption who are transferring to another California public college or university must submit a new request (and documentation if required) to each college under consideration.

  • Nonresident students meeting the criteria will be exempted from the payment of nonresident tuition, but they will not be classified as California residents. They continue to be “nonresidents”.

  • The California Dream Act extends Cal Grant A and B Entitlement awards, Cal Grant C awards, Chaffee grants, and institutional financial aid to students that meet these criteria as well as the applicable criteria for eligibility for specific types of financial aid.

  • AB540 does not provide federal student financial aid eligibility for undocumented students. These students remain ineligible for federal financial aid.

1This exemption to the requirement to pay the nonresident tuition fee is often referred to "AB540" after Assembly Bill with enacted the exemption. (Ed Code, § 68130.5.)

2In 2014, Assembly Bill 2000 was enacted amending Education Code section 68130.5 to allow this additional flexibility in meeting the requirements for the exemption.

3In 2012, Assembly Bill 1899 was enacted into law exempting holders of T and U visas from paying nonresident tuition. (Ed. Code, § 68122.)

 How do I apply?

  1. Complete the form entitled California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request
  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.