1) The Federal DREAM Act is not the same as the California DREAM ACT
The term “DREAMER” was originally derived from The Federal Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. The goal of the Federal DREAM ACT is to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented youth who grew up in the United States. It was first introduced in Congress in 2001. However, to this day, the Federal Dream Act has not yet passed. Young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children do not have pathways to citizenship. Although pathways to citizenship are not available for undocumented youth, some states (like California) passed their own versions of the DREAM Act.
The California Dream Act was passed in 2011 and enabled eligible undocumented students to receive state funded financial aid and privately funded scholarships. The California Dream Act has nothing to do with immigration or pathways to citizenship. It is only for the purposes of receiving state financial aid.
2) DACA is not the same as the Federal of the California DREAM Act
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an executive order by President Obama which granted eligible undocumented youth a 2-year renewable temporary relief from deportation and a social security number for work authorization. DACA does not currently provide a long term pathway to citizenship. DACA is not related to the California Dream Act and students do not have to be DACA eligible to apply for the California Dream Act and vice versa— each program has its unique eligibility criteria.
3) Undocumented students may be eligible for in-state tuition
Assembly Bill 540 (AB540) is a law that was passed in 2001 that allows undocumented students that meet certain eligibility requirements to pay resident ($46/unit) instead of non-resident ($276/ unit) fees. To apply, submit the California Nonresident Tuition Exception Request Form to the Admissions and Records Office.
4) Undocumented students may be eligible for in-state tuition
Cal Grant eligible students will receive up to $1670/ year for educational expenses. In addition, the Cal Grant may also cover full cost of tuition at the UCs and CSUs for students who are planning to transfer. To apply for the Cal Grant program, the California DREAM Act application and the GPA Verification Form must be submitted by March 2nd of the application year.
5) Undocumented students are eligible to apply for the Board of Governor’s Fee Waiver
Undocumented students who are eligible for AB540 may apply for the Board of Governor’s (BOG) Fee Waiver Program which waives the $46/unit fee at DVC. To apply for the BOG Fee Waiver, fill out the California DREAM Act application. Please note the fee waiver does NOT have a March 2nd deadline and students may continue to apply throughout the academic year.
6) Undocumented students are eligible to apply for EOPS
Undocumented students who are eligible for AB540 and the Board of Governor’s Fee Waiver may apply for EOPS. The EOPS Program’s primary goal is to encourage the enrollment, retention and transfer of students disadvantaged by language, social, economic and educational circumstances, and to facilitate the successful completion of their goals and objectives in college. EOPS offers academic counseling, book vouchers, free tutoring, and other support services. To apply, please visit the EOPS Office.
7) Undocumented students are not eligible for federal financial aid
Undocumented students are not eligible to apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and receive any federally funded student financial aid, including: Pell Grant, SEOG Grant, work-study, and student loans. Students who are recipients of a social security number from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are not eligible to apply for FAFSA.