GETTING STARTED—THE FAFSA OR CALIFORNIA DREAM ACT

Financial Aid

Financial aid is money to help pay for college or career school. Aid can come from:

  • the U.S. federal government,
  • the state where one lives,
  • the college/post-secondary institution one attends, or
  • a non-profit or private organization

The timeframe to complete either (NOT BOTH) the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act is from October 1 to March 2 each year (the first year being the student’s senior year in high school).  The student will complete only one application (not both) each year while attending a college or career school after graduation from high school.  Also, never pay to complete a FAFSA or California Dream Act.  Read the information below and once you determine your eligibility use the link after the appropriate description and you will do fine.
Before you start you need to determine which application to use:

 

Who completes the FAFSA?

Those who complete the FAFSA must be a U.S. Citizen or an eligible noncitizen. A FAFSA student MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR BOTH federal student aid and a Cal Grant.

An individual is an eligible non-citizen generally if you are one of the following:

  • U.S. permanent resident, with a Permanent Resident Card (formerly known as an Alien Registration Receipt Card or “Green Card”)
  • Conditional permanent resident (I-551C)
  • Other eligible noncitizen with an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the Department of Homeland Security showing any one of the following designations: “Refugee,” “Asylum Granted,” “Indefinite Parole,” “Humanitarian Parole,” or “Cuban-Haitian Entrant”
  • A citizen of the Republic of Palau (PW), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (MH), or the Federated States of Micronesia (FM).

You can receive federal student aid if you are an eligible noncitizen. You must enter your eight or nine digit Alien Registration Number (ARN) on the FAFSA.

  1. Create an FSA ID Website: https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm
  2. Complete the FAFSA Website: https://fafsa.ed.gov

 

Who completes the California Dream Act?

Those who complete the California Dream Act are allowed to do so through AB 540.  AB 540 allows non-resident students who meet certain qualifications to pay in-state tuition. These students may include undocumented students, students who are US citizens but who are not CA residents and dependent students whose parents are not CA residents. A California Dreamer Act student MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR a Cal Grant but IS NOT ELIGIBLE for federal student aid.

AB 540 students are those who:

  • Have attended a CA high school for a minimum of three years; or
  • Attainment of credits in California from a California high school equivalent of at least three 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 those schools.
  • Graduated will graduate from a California high school or attainment of General Education Development (GED), High School Equivalency Test (HiSET), or Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC), and
  • Will register or enroll in an accredited and qualifying California college or university, and
  • If applicable, complete an affidavit to legalize immigration status as soon as eligible, and
  • Do not hold a valid non-immigrant visa (F, J, H, L, A, B, C, D, E, etc.)**

**If you have Temporary Protected Status or hold a U Visa you may be eligible for the California Dream Act.

California Dream Act Website:   http://www.csac.ca.gov/dream_act.asp