Dream Act - Who is Eligible

Flowers on the northwest side of Stevenson Hall

The California Dream Act authorized state-funded financial aid for students who may not have legal immigration status at the time they apply for financial aid. This page explains if the California Dream Application is the right financial aid application for you.

Students who can apply for federally-funded financial aid should not complete the California Dream Application. Instead, those students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Should you file the California Dream Application instead of the FAFSA?

The California Dream Application is the right application for you if all the following are true:

  • You do not have United States citizenship by birth or by naturalization.
  • You are not a legal permanent resident of the United States with a "green card."
  • You do not have to pay non-resident tuition to attend Sonoma State University, either because you are eligible for a waiver of non-resident tuition under AB540, or you have a "U" visa.

Eligibility for Waiver of Non-Resident Tuition Under AB540

Individuals who are not considered legal residents of California but who attended high school in California for a qualifying period of time may be eligible for a waiver of non-resident tuition under AB540. If this applies to you, you must file the affidavit available from the SSU Office of Admissions.

"U" Visa Holders

Holders of "U" visas are exempt from paying non-resident tuition by California law. "U" visas are given to nonimmigrants who are victims of trafficking, domestic violence, and other serious crimes and are therefore allowed temporarily to remain in the United States legally while assisting law enforcement.

Does Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status matter?

If you have DACA status, you should file the California Dream Application because you are not eligible for federal financial aid. You may be eligible for a Social Security card that states, "Valid for work only with DHS authorization." That Social Security card will be needed if you apply for student employment at SSU, but it does not make you eligible for financial aid through the FAFSA.

Most states in the United States do not have their own Dream Application for state-funded financial aid, so DACA students in those states may be told to file the FAFSA. By providing the California Dream Application, our state has made it easier for Dream students to apply for state-funded financial aid.

Who should file the FAFSA instead of the California Dream Application?

If you think you may qualify to file a FAFSA for federal aid eligibility, please review the Eligibility criteria in our Help Book.

Need help determining which financial aid application to file?

If you are unsure which application to use, contact our Financial Aid Office. If you are an applicant to SSU or a current SSU student, email our Information Specialists at finaid@sonoma.edu.