Understanding AB 540


The California Nonresident Tuition Exemption, known as AB 540, exempts some students from paying nonresident tuition (which is greater than resident tuition) and/or permits them to apply for and receive state aid at certain public and private institutions in California.

In order to qualify for AB 540, students must file a Non-Resident Tuition Exemption Request through the CSULB Residency Office. Please note that you must present official High School and/or Community College Transcripts with your form.

Additional requirements include:

Applicants must satisfy either items 1 or 2 (Time and Coursework Requirement)

  1. Three (3) or more years of full-time attendance or attainment of equivalent credits earned in California from the following schools (or any combination thereof):

    A. High School *
    B. Adult School *
    C. Community College (credit or non-credit courses) ** or

  2. Three (3) or more years of full-time high school coursework and attended a combination of elementary, middle and/or high school in California for a combined total of three (3) or more years.

AND Satisfy any from item 3 (Graduation and/or Transfer Requirement)

  1. Graduation and/or transfer requirements:

    A. Graduate from a California high school, or
    B. Obtain a GED, HiSET or TASC in California, or
    C. Attain an associate degree from a California Community College, or
    D. Fulfilled the minimum transfer requirements to transfer from a California Community College to a University of California or California State University.

The applicant must all meet the following requirements to qualify for AB 540:

  1. Will register or enroll in an accredited and qualifying California college or university, and
  2. Does not currently hold a valid non-immigrant visa (A, B, C, D, E, F, J, H, L, etc.), except persons granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or hold a U Visa***

*Full-time attendance = minimum of 420 hours per school year
**Credit courses = full-time attendance is a minimum of 12 units semester/quarter per year. Maximum of two (2) years of credit coursework can be used toward meeting 3-year requirement.
**Non-credit courses = full-time attendance is a minimum of 420 hours/school year
***AB 1899 allows U and T visa holders to also apply for state financial aid. (T visa holders should file a FAFSA, U visa holders should file a CA Dream Act Application)

Steps for Submitting your AB 540 Affidavit for Undergraduates and Graduates

  • Submit your completed Non-Resident Tuition Exemption Request and official high school transcripts by XXX for new fall incoming students and by XXX for new spring incoming students.
  • If you are an CSULB student applying to a graduate program CSULB, you must re-submit ONLY your exemption request to graduate admissions. No need to submit your official Transcripts. All other graduate students must submit their official HS Transcripts AND exemption request to graduate admissions.
  • The form can be submitted
    • In person to Enrollment Services located at Brotman Hall 101
    • By email to es-residency@csulb.edu
    • Via mail to CSULB Enrollment Services ATTN: Residency Specialist, 1250 Bellflower Blvd. Long Beach, CA 90840
  • AB 540 student status will not be official until final high school transcripts & affidavit are submitted and processed. Non-resident fees will be charged until AB 540 status is approved.
  • You will receive an email from the Admissions Office verifying your status as an AB 540 student (usually within 2 weeks).