California governor Gavin Newsom signed California Assembly Bill 1540 on Oct. 8, streamlining the financial aid eligibility process for undocumented college applicants.
Previously, students were required to fill out the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) to determine their eligibility for financial aid, then submit an AB 540 affidavit with their college to verify their residency status and be given a nonresident tuition exemption, according to a press release by California Student Aid Commission.
This barrier coupled with only about 62% of CADAA applicants who were offered financial aid getting paid, according to California Student Aid Commission (CSAC).
“This process varies by campus, often leads to a convoluted and complex process that can result in financial aid being delayed, or even denied,” the press release read.
The new bill — signed by California state representative Mike Fong — will integrate the financial aid process of the AB 540 affidavit into the CADAA, allowing undocumented students to submit one application to apply for university and become eligible for financial aid at once.
“The Commission will provide the institution of higher education with the affidavit, removing administrative barriers for students and ensuring there is no miscommunication or confusion for students,” the press release read.
The signing follows the release of a Renewing the Dream report that discussed how to expand access to financial aid for undocumented students and was completed in partnership with the CSAC.
The bill ultimately aims to increase accessibility to financial aid for undocumented students by removing pre-existing administrative barriers to the application process.
“AB 1540 is a critical policy that will help close educational equity gaps and streamline the California Dream Act Application to make financial aid available to some of our most vulnerable students,” CSAC Executive Director Marlene Garcia said in the press release.
The change in the CADAA will take effect when financial aid applications open later this year.
“We applaud Governor Newsom for signing this bill and thank the Legislature for their continued support to our students,” Garcia said in the press release.
A version of this article appeared on p. 3 of the Oct. 12, 2023 print edition of the Daily Nexus.