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AB 540

State Law: AB 540

On October 12, 2001, Governor Gray Davis signed into law Assembly Bill 540, which created a new exemption from the payment of non-resident tuition for certain non-resident students who have attended high school in California and received a high school diploma or its equivalent. AB 2000 expanded the scope of AB 540 in 2014.  

AB 540 Guidelines Requirements for Eligibility

  • A student may qualify for exemption from nonresident tuition…either by high school attendance in California for three or more years
  • or by either elementary or secondary school attendance,
  • or both in California for a total of 3 or more years and
  • attainment of credits earned in California from a California high school equivalent to 3 or more years of full-time high school coursework and a total of three or more years of attendance in California elementary schools, California secondary schools, or a combination of these schools.
  • Must register or is currently enrolled at an accredited institution of public higher education in California;
  • Must file or will file an affidavit as required by individual institutions, stating that the filer will apply for legal residency as soon as possible;
  • Must not hold a valid non-immigrant visa (F, J, H, L, A, E, etc.)

AB 540 Ineligibility

An ineligible student is one who does not meet the AB 540 criterion. In most situations, not having met the three years attendance at a California high school is what prevents a student from qualifying for AB 540. Students can still attend as long as they meet the admissions criteria and are accepted by the college or university, but must pay non-resident fees. 

Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request (AB540)

Students who have attended a California high school for three years AND received a California high school diploma or its equivalent (such as a GED), may be exempt from paying non-resident tuition. If you are qualified, please complete the AB540 Form and submit it by fax at (650) 574-6506, by mail, or in person to the Admissions and Records office (College Center Building 10, Room 360).