Dream Scholars

Change in federal policy will NOT affect your financial aid eligibility. The California Dream Act Application (CADAA) is a state law. You do not have to qualify for Deferred Action (DACA) to apply.
  • COVID-19 Resources

    The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships is committed to helping and supporting our undocumented community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is a list of resources to help students and/or their families.

  • California Dream Act

    The California Dream Act allows undocumented and nonresident students who qualify for a non-resident exemption under the Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540) to receive state based financial aid and institutional grants/scholarships. CADAA filers are not eligible for federal financial aid. Additionally, the California Dream Act allows eligible students to pay in-state tuition.
  • Applying for Financial Aid

    The California Dream Act Application (CADAA) allows students that reside in California and who are undocumented, DACA recipients (valid and/or expired), U-Visa holders, and/or have Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and also meet AB 540 requirements, to apply for state and institutional financial aid. Dream students are not eligible to receive federal financial aid.

    Information within the California Dream Act Application is not shared with federal databases. Student and Parent information is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which prohibits schools from disclosing personally identifiable information to a third party without the consent of the student.

  • California Dream Act Application

    Application Opens: October 1st of each calendar year

    Priority Filing Deadline: March 2nd of each calendar year

    Apply on the CSAC website.

    Tax Year Data Used:
    2020 tax return for the 2022-2023 CADAA
    2021 tax return for the 2023-2024 CADAA

    *Make sure to have your and your parents income information ready such as tax returns and W-2 forms. 

    UC Santa Barbara's School Code: #001320

    Is Parent Signature Required?
    Yes, please ensure your parent signs the application in order for the application to be processed successfully.

    Resources: CA Dream Act Checklist (Immigrants Rising)

    Need help?
    Join the Line to receive a call back from an advisor or
    Contact Arleth Real | Dream Scholars Advisor arlethreal@ucsb.edu

    Next Steps

    Award Letters 

    For recently admitted students, estimated financial aid award letters (also known as Financial Aid Offers) will become available during the month of March - roughly about 1-2 weeks after admission decisions are released. 

    For current and incoming students, official award letters are released on a rolling basis beginning in in mid-July.

    Required Documents 

    If a student is selected for the verification process, our office will notify them via their UCSB email. Current students can check their My Aid Status or visit ucsb.verifymyfafsa.com to review any required documents. All students can check ahead of time if they were selected for verification by looking at the summary page of their submitted CADAA. Please note that even if a student was not initially selected for verification, they can be selected for verification after making any corrections to their already submitted CADAA.

    Financial Circumstances Changed 

    At times, the income information reported on a student’s California Dream Act Application (CADAA) does not accurately reflect a family’s current financial circumstances. Situations that impact a student and/or family’s ability to contribute to the cost of education can be reevaluated through a Family Contribution Appeal. Please note that these appeals are reviewed on a case by case basis. For more information, please refer to our Appeals section of our website.

    *2023-2024 appeals are now available! 

  • Assembly Bill 540

    The California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Education Code commonly known as Assembly Bill 540 enables certain students to pay in-state tuition and apply for state financial aid. Please note that the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) uses a series of skip logic questions to help determine eligibility. Our office does not determine AB540 eligibility.

    Who is eligible?

    Undocumented students, students who are U.S. citizens but who are not California residents, and dependent students whose parents are not California residents may be eligible for AB 540. Student must meet the following requirements:

    Time and Coursework Requirements

    • 3 years high school credits and 3 years total attendance at any of these California schools: Elementary School, Middle School, High School

    • 3 years attendance (or equivalent) at any of these schools in California: High School, Adult School, Community College (Maximum of 2 years of CC may be applied towards the 3 year SB 68 requirement)

    Degree or Transfer Eligibility

    • Graduated from a California High School (or the equivalent, GED, HiSET, TASC, CHSPE) OR

    • Earned an Associates Degree from a California Community College OR 

    • Met the minimum requirements to transfer to a CSU or UC. 

    Non-resident Tuition Exemption 

    • Student files a signed California Non-resident Exemption Request (AB 540 Affidavit) with the college or university. 

    For more information please visit the UC AB 540 Non-resident Tuition Exemption web page. 

    Who is not eligible?

    Students who are non-immigrant visa holders (including but not limited to the following visas: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T*, TN/TD, TWOV, U*, and NATO) are not eligible for this exemption and are not eligible for federal or state financial aid. 

    * Except for holders of T and U visas:  UC policy permits T and U visa holders with approved I-485 applications who meet the requirements described above to be exempt from nonresident supplemental tuition until they are eligible to establish California residency according to UC policy.

    How to apply

    After you accept your admissions offer from UC Santa Barbara, you will need to submit your Statement of Legal Residence to the campus residency deputy. The Residency Deputy may provide additional forms for you to complete to determine your eligibility for AB 540 non-resident tuition exemption. 

    If you have any specific questions, you may contact the residency deputy at Residency@sa.ucsb.edu
  • Selective Service and the California Dream Act Application

    The Selective Service System (SSS) allows the federal government to have a list of all young men who would be available to serve in the U.S armed forces if a mandatory draft was necessary. Federal law requires all men between the ages of 18-25 (citizens and undocumented) to register within 30 days of their 18th birthday. A social security number is not required to register. 

    Do I need to register? 

    Yes. In order to be eligible to receive state financial aid through the CA Dream Act, men must provide proof of Selective Service registration. 

    Will the Selective Service System disclose my immigration status? 

    The Selective Service System will not disclose your immigration status. The Selective Service System does provide the federal government with your name and address so that the government can contact you in case of a mandatory draft. However, there has not been a mandatory draft since the 1970s. 

    How do I register?

    Students who do not have a Social Security Number (SSN) or who have been issued a social security number through the DACA program, can register for Selective Service by completing a paper “Selective Service Registration” form. You can access the form on the Selective Service System website

    Please note that the processing of your registration will take 1-2 months (sometimes longer) so it is important to start the process as soon as possible. Once the registration is successfully processed, the government will mail students their Selective Service Registration card.

  • Grants and Scholarships

    Grants are gift aid that you do not need to pay back and are based on financial need. Dream Scholars (i.e. CADAA filers) are eligible to receive state and institutional financial aid only. In order to be eligible to receive grants and scholarships, students must file the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) by March 2nd and have AB 540 eligibility.

    Please refer to this chart to view the available grants and scholarships.
  • Professional Experience Opportunities

    The following professional experience opportunities are available to help students develop professional skills and experience: 

    UCSB Work-Study

    Similar to the federal work-study, UCSB work-study is awarded to high need students and provides them with the opportunity to work on-campus or off-campus. The program is intended to encourage students to seek part-time employment and reduce the amount of debt incurred while attending college. 

    Students who participate in the UCSB work-study program will receive the funds in form of a paycheck. UCSB work-study funds will not be paid directly to a student’s billing account. 

    This award can only be activated if a student was granted deferred action under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and obtained a social security number as well as an employment authorization card. 

    Monarch Opportunity Scholarship

    The Monarch Opportunity Scholarship is a program designed to help students acquire professional experience. This opportunity is available to Dream Scholars who have not been granted deferred action under DACA. To find more information about the scholarship, please visit Undocumented Student Services website.  

    California Dream Act Service Incentive Grant Program

    The California Dream Act Service Incentive Grant Program (DSIG) encourages California Dream Act Application (CADAA) students with a Cal Grant B award to perform community or volunteer service. The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) will award up to $3,000 per academic year (up to $1,500 per semester or up to $1,000 per quarter) to 2,500 eligible students. The grant will be available to the student for up to 8 semesters or up to 12 quarters while they have an active Cal Grant B award. Students must also meet Satisfactory Academic Progress and complete any necessary verification for their Cal Grant B award. https://www.csac.ca.gov/dsig

    Where can I see my eligibility? 

    Students can view their UCSB work-study or their Monarch Opportunity Scholarship eligibility on their financial aid award letter. On their award letters, students will see these opportunities listed as “Professional Experience Opportunity.” In order to determine what program a student can  participate in, the student will be prompted to answer a question regarding their work authorization. Please refer to this Determination Chart.

  • Loans

    Dream Scholars are ineligible to receive federal financial aid including Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and/or Parent Plus loans. However, Dream Scholars are eligible to receive non-federal financial aid including the California Dream Loan and our institutional loan also known as UCSB loan. 

    California Dream Loan 

    The California Dream Loan Program provides students who are AB 540 eligible with the option to borrow loans to cover the cost of attending a UC/CSU. To be eligible for the California Dream Loan, a student must file their California Dream Act Application no later than the March 2nd deadline and be enrolled at least half-time at UC Santa Barbara. Offered amounts can vary from year-to-year based on funding. 

    UCSB Loan 

    The UCSB Loan is awarded to undergraduate students who are California residents, file their California Dream Act Application (CADAA) / FAFSA by the March 2nd priority deadline, and demonstrate sufficient financial need. Offered amounts can vary from year-to-year based on funding.

    For more information on these two loans, refer to this chart.

  • Resources