The State of California requires public colleges and universities to abide by the rules and regulations associated with determining a student’s residency status for tuition purposes. The following residency information is based on the California Code of Regulations and the California Education Code.
In order to establish residence, it is necessary that there be a union of act and intent. Students wanting California residency for tuition purposes must present documentation of physical presence and provide objective evidence that they intend to make California their home for anything other than a temporary purpose. (5 CCR 54020)
Students are qualified for California residency for tuition purposes if they have resided in the state for one year prior to the “residence determination date”. The residence determination date is the day immediately preceding the opening day of instruction. (5 CCR 54002)
A residency classification is made at the time of application. Students seeking California Residency for tuition purposes will be required to present evidence of physical presence in California, intent to make California their home for other than a temporary purpose and if the student was classified as a nonresident in the preceding term, financial independence.
If a student is over the age of 19, has maintained a home outside of California at any time during the last two years, or has engaged in any other activity inconsistent with making California your permanent home, they will be required to provide additional evidence of intent to reside in California. Students under the age of 19 derive their residency from their parents.
Students seeking California residency for tuition purposes must also show intent to make California their permanent home. Evidence of intent to make California a permanent home can be provided in a variety of ways. There must be an absence of residency from any other state. Some examples of the evidence you may present is California Driver’s License, the filing of California taxes as a resident, registering to vote in California, showing a California address on federal income tax form, and establishing and maintaining active California bank accounts. (5 CCR 54024)
AB540 & SB 68
California Assembly Bill AB-540 is a California law passed in 2001 which states that undocumented students who meet certain requirements can qualify to be exempt from nonresident tuition at California public colleges and universities. In 2014 Assembly Bill AB-2000 was passed expanding the definition to allow flexibility for student to meet the requirements. In January of 2018, Senate Bill SB-68 went into effect which further expands the criteria. This is very important because it allows eligible undocumented students to pay the in-state tuition rate, rather than the non-resident tuition rate.
Who qualifies for AB-540/AB-2000/SB-68
A student will qualify for this exemption if they meet ALL of the following four requirements:
Requirement 1 – Attendance at California School.
This requirement can be met one of two ways:
- Total attendance (or attainment of credit earned) in California is equivalent to three or more years of full-time attendance at California high schools, California adult schools , campuses of the California Community Colleges, or a combination of these;
- Three or more years of full-time California high school coursework, and a total of three or more years of attendance in California elementary schools, California secondary schools, or a combination of California elementary and secondary schools.
Full time attendance at a California community college means either 12 units of credit per semester or a minimum of 420 class hours per year in non-credit courses. Attendance in credit courses at a California community college counted towards this requirement shall not exceed a total of two years of full-time attendance. Full-time attendance at a California adjust school is also equivalent to 420 class hours of attendance for each school year.
Requirement 2 – Completion of a course of study.
This requirement can be met in any one of the following three ways:
- Graduation from a California high school or the equivalent (GED, Proficiency Exam, etc);
- Attainment of an associate degree from a California community college;
- Fulfillment of the minimum transfer requirements for California State University or University of California.
Requirement 3 – Registration.
Requires registration as an entering student or current enrollment at Contra Costa College.
Requirement 4 – Affidavit of student without lawful immigration status.
Students without lawful immigration status must file an affidavit with Contra Costa College stating that the student has either filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status, or will file an application as soon as he or she is eligible to do so. This affidavit, which is included on the AB540 form, is confidential and will not be shared with other agencies.
To see if you may qualify for AB-540/SB-68 status, please use the Immigrants Rising online California In-State Tuition Tool.
To qualify for AB-540 status you must submit the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request form to the Office of Admissions and Records along with transcripts (unofficial is permitted) from your high school and/or adult school.
Please note that students who are non-immigrants, other than those with a T or U visa (F-1 visa, B visa, etc.) are not eligible for this exemption.
Education Code section 68075.6 grants immediate nonresident tuition fee exemptions to eligible Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders and refugee students who settled in California upon entering the United States. This exemption is granted for one year from the date the student settled in California upon entering the United States.
This exemption applies to the following:
- Iraqi citizens or nationals (and their spouses and children) who were employed by or on behalf of the United States Government in Iraq.
- Afghan and Iraqi translators (and their spouses and children) who worked directly with the United States Armed Forces
- Afghanistan nationals who were employed by or on the behalf of the Unites States Government or in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
- Refugee students admitted to the United States under Section 1157 of Title 8 of the United States Code
Members of the armed forces of the United States on active duty, and certain military dependents, may be entitled to classification as California residents. Contact the Admissions and Records Office for more information.