Paying For College

CA Dream Act

  1. What is the California Dream Act?
    1. The CA Dream Act is a state-based financial aid program for eligible undocumented students that was established in Spring 2012 by the CA Student Aid Commission.
  2. What are the eligibility requirements?
    1. The student must:
    2. Apply for the CA Dream Act
    3. Submit by March 2nd, when required
    4. Successfully meet
      1. Income guidelines
      2. GPA and other Cal Grant eligibility
      3. AB 540/ AB 2000/ SB 68 eligibility
      4. Program requirements for EOP or EOPS
      5. Other requirements, as determined by the institution
    5. ***It is important to note that undocumented students DO NOT need DACA to apply for the CA Dream Act. DACA is a federal program, while CA Dream Act is a state-based financial aid program.***
  3. What are the benefits of the California Dream Act?
    1. The CA Dream Act allows AB 540/ SB 68 students to apply for:
    2. State-funded grants (including Cal Grants, State grants, UC Grants and the CA College Promise Grant)
    3. State programs such as EOP and EOPS
    4. Certain scholarships administered by the public institution
    5. Financial aid fee deferments, if applicable”
  4. How do I apply for the California Dream Act?
    1. Apply for the CA Dream Act at
    2. If necessary, complete any additional application materials required by your school (e.g. CA and College Promise Grants, institutional scholarships, etc.).
    3. Review and accept award on school’s portal.
    4. Confirm and accept Cal Grant, if applicable at
    5. Resolve any outstanding holds on your student portal.
    6. Ensure AB 540/SB 68 classification is approved by your institution.

Resources to Help You Apply for the CA Dream Act

Here are some resources that can help you successfully apply for the CA Dream Act

    1. FAFSA vs. CA Dream Act: Apply to the Correct Financial Aid in CA
      Understand the differences between the CA financial aid and the federal financial aid applications to figure out which one best fits your situation to maximize your aid.
    2. For Students Who are Citizens, but Whose Parents Are Undocumented Use this resource to get answers to questions you have about applying for financial aid. All citizens are eligible for federal and state financial aid, regardless of their parents immigration status.
    3. CA Dream Act and Cal Grant Application Checklists
      Use these checklists to ensure you successfully apply for the CA Dream Act and Cal Grants! Don’t miss any steps and apply By March 2 to ensure you are considered for maximum financial aid.
    4. Types of CA Financial Aid
      Learn about the different kinds of financial available to undergraduate and graduate undocumented students at the CCC, CSU, and UC level.
    5. Selective Service Postcard for Undocumented male students, ages 18-25, because they are required to register show proof to their school in order to receive financial aid. Receiving proof can take 6-8 weeks since they cannot sign up online.  Therefore, it is important to complete this step early to avoid delays in their aid disbursement.
    6. Campus-specific resources
      College of the Alameda can help you Apply for the California dream and answer any specific financial aid questions.
      1. COA Steps to Apply for Financial Aid
      2. Financial Aid Hands-On Workshop Schedule
      3. CA Dream Act Application Tutorial for First Time Filer



If a scholarship is worth $1,000 and you spend 10 hours writing an essay and submitting your scholarship application, it can result in $100 per hour invested! Most scholarships have similar prompts, so you can rework the same essay for each application you submit. Use our Scholarship Essay Worksheet to improve your essays and ability to receive multiple awards.

  1. What are scholarships?
    1. Free money to pay for school! Scholarships are an excellent way to pay for college tuition and other expenses.
  2. Who can Apply for Scholarships?
    1. All students can apply and the criteria can vary based on grades, community service, your major, and more. Fortunately there are many scholarships that do not require a social security number, proof of citizenship or legal residency to apply or receive the scholarship.
  3. What are the benefits of applying for scholarships?
    1. Scholarships are different amounts of money you don’t have to pay back which can help you cover educational expenses Such as tuition, books, transportation, living expenses
  4. What are the steps in applying?
    1. Determine If you are eligible for specific scholarship
    2. Complete the application
    3. Submit The application and all requested information stated deadline
    4. Check the scholarship status of your scholarship.
    5. If you win the scholarship, inform your school to determine the next steps in receiving the funds.

Resources to Help YOU Find and Apply for Scholarships

    1. Undergraduate Scholarship List
      Up-to-date listing of scholarships for undergraduate students that don’t require proof of citizenship or legal permanent residency. This list is organized by deadline date and contains scholarships at the local (Bay Area), state, and national level.
    2. Graduate Scholarship List
      Similar listing for graduate studies with scholarships
      at the local (Bay Area), state, and national level.
    3. College of Alameda College Promise