California Dream Act

About California Dream Act

The California Dream Act of 2011 consists of two bills, Assembly Bill 130 (AB 130) and Assembly Bill 131 (AB 131).  AB 130 was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on June 25, 2011, and AB 131 was signed into law by Gov. Brown on Oct. 8, 2011.

  • AB 130 was effective Jan. 1, 2012, and allows students attending UC Merced who are exempt from paying nonresident tuition under Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540) and are ineligible for federal financial aid, to be eligible to receive UC Merced scholarships that are derived from private, non-state funds.
  • AB 131 (the second part of the Dream Act), went into effect Jan. 1, 2013, and allows students who are exempt from paying nonresident tuition under AB 540 and who are ineligible for federal financial aid to receive all grants and scholarships that are derived from UC Merced or state funds.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

  • You must be ineligible for federal financial aid.
  • You must be a California resident.
  • You must apply for and qualify for an AB 540 nonresident tuition exemption in order to be eligible for grant aid.
  • Prospective students must have an entry 3.25 grade point average (GPA) or above in order to be eligible for institutional scholarships.
  • Continuing students must have a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) or above in order to be eligible for institutional scholarships.

Apply Now!

DREAM Loan Program 

Visit the University of California's page for more detailed information on the DREAM loan program

DREAM loan details

  • 4.66% interest rate for 2017-18 (same as Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan)
    • Interest rate for future loans may differ
  • Interest will not accrue as long as you're enrolled at least half time
  • Once you graduate or are no longer enrolled at least half time, you will have a 6-month grace period before repayment begins

Who is eligible for a DREAM loan?

  • Undocumented AB 540 undergraduates who:
    • Have financial need
    • Are enrolled at least half-time at UC Merced

What's Next?

  • Apply for financial aid by completing a CA Dream Act application every year
  • Check your UC Merced email frequently for updates from our office

Helpful Q&A's

Q:  Is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status related to my financial aid eligibility under the California DREAM Act?
A:  No.  DACA is a federal policy (not a law) enacted by an executive order in 2012, to defer the removal of certain eligible undocumented youth (for at least 2 years). Which allows them to apply for work authorization and granted a social security number if they are approved for DACA, while the California Dream Act is a California state law passed in 2011 that consists of two Assembly bills, AB130 & AB131.

Q:  If DACA is repealed, how could it impact my education?
A:  To the extent that DACA is changed, eligibility to work could be impacted.  If this occurs, the University is committed to exploring how to mitigate the impacts on UC students.

Q:  If I am an undocumented student, who can I contact if I have questions about my educational opportunities?
A:  The University of California is committed to supporting all students who are pursuing their dreams of a higher education in the UC, regardless of their immigration status or that of their parents.  Students who have any questions or concerns about their continued educational opportunities and/or immigration status are highly encouraged to speak with the UCM Associate Director of the Bright Success Center, Alex Delgadillo, who oversees Services for Undocumented Students.  He can be reached at or (209) 228-4625.


Undocumented students cannot complete or submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and should instead submit the California Dream Act Application

Students who are eligible to complete the FAFSA should not complete the California Dream Act Application.

Here are Top 10 things you need to know about the California Dream Act.

Check out this College Guide for Undocumented Students for more information and resources available.

If your questions were not answered here, please view AB 131 FAQ's or our frequently asked questions.