Exemption from Nonresident Tuition FAQs


What is AB 540?

On October 11, 2001, Governor Gray Davis signed Assembly Bill 540 (now Education Code Section 68130.5) creating a new exemption from nonresident tuition for any student who meets all of the following criteria:

  • Attended high school in California for 3 or more years.
  • Graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent.
  • Is registered at and/or attending an accredited institution of higher education in California.
  • For students without lawful immigration status, they must file an affidavit with the campus stating that they have applied to legalize their immigration status (using INS form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative) or will do so as soon as they are eligible.

When did the law take effect?

January 2, 2002.

What are the procedures for requesting the exemption from nonresident tuition?

Visit the Office of the Registrar to download form AB540. Submit this completed AB540 California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request along with proof of high school attendance and graduation (or its equivalent) in California to Registrar Services. Once approved by Registrar Services, the registration fees will be adjusted to charge only the basic registration fee.

How do students request a refund if they have already paid the current semester nonresident tuition and then become eligible for an exemption?

Once you see a credit on your account, you may contact the Bursar's Office to expedite your refund.

Do students need to file a new affidavit each semester they enroll?

No. Students providing an affidavit are not required to submit a new affidavit for any future term of continuous enrollment after the original affidavit is submitted. A break in continuous enrollment will require completion of a new affidavit.

Are US citizens who are current residents of other states but meet all the criteria eligible?


Does the exemption apply to students holding valid non-immigrant (temporary) visas (such as F, J, H, L, or other temporary visa)?


Are students covered under this exemption eligible to receive a State University Grant (SUG)?

No. Students exempted from paying nonresident tuition do not become residents for eligibility purposes for any state-funded program.

Are students covered under this exemption eligible to receive other financial aid?

Students who are covered under this exemption are not eligible for any state financial aid. Federal regulations determine the requirements for federal financial aid. The agency handling the application and selection process will determine citizenship criteria for specific stipends, internships or scholarships.

Are students covered under this exemption eligible to receive a waiver of the application fee based on qualifying financial status?


Are students covered under this exemption eligible to participate in the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)?

No. Students are exempt from paying nonresident tuition, but do not become residents for eligibility purposes for any state-funded program, such as EOP.

What happens if the certification provided by a student is later determined to be false?

The student will be liable for repayment of the difference between resident and nonresident tuition that would have been applicable for all terms of attendance. The student may also be subject to disciplinary proceedings.

What happens to the information obtained in the implementation of this law?

The law requires that all information obtained in the implementation remain a confidential portion of the student's permanent record. For audit purposes, the original documents must be maintained for at least 5 years.