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Home Student Resources Cultural Engagement Centers Undocu-Resource Center Common Terminology Related to Undocumented Students

The following are definitions of common terms used in the Undocu-Resource Center.

Assembly Bill (AB) 21

Assembly Bill 21 (Kalra, 2017) seeks to mitigate the impacts of potential federal changes to immigration enforcement policies and to ensure students have access to their financial aid, legal representation, and their constitutional right to due process. AB 21 also required that the CA Attorney General and the higher education segments (including private universities) adopt a model policy developed by the Attorney General or an equivalent policy, limiting assistance with immigration enforcement to the fullest extent possible consistent with federal and state law.

Source: California Community Colleges Dreamers Project: Complete Report

Assembly Bill (AB) 540

Assembly Bill 540 was passed in 2001 and grants students who meet certain criteria an exemption from paying nonresident tuition.

Source: California Community Colleges Dreamers Project: Complete Report

CA Dream Act (AB 130 and 131)

The California Dream Act (Assembly Bill 130 and Assembly Bill 131) allows undocumented and nonresident documented students who meet certain requirements to apply for and receive:

  • Scholarships
  • State-administered financial aid
  • Community college fee waivers
  • Cal grants

Make sure your high school has verified your GPA. Learn more at California Student Aid Commission, or call (888) 224-7268.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
DACA is a federal program for people who came to the US as children and meet several eligibility requirements. DACA provides a two-year deportation reprieve and applicants may apply for a work authorization permit, which is subject to renewal. It does not provide lawful status. Only adults who were 31 years old or younger on June 15, 2012 qualify for this program. More information about DACA

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act (S.1291) legislation was introduced in 2001 as a bipartisan bill in the Senate. The legislative goal was to provide a means for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children to gain a pathway to permanent legal status, provided those individuals achieved certain milestones.

The term Dreamer refers to undocumented students who were brought to the US by their parents as minors and either entered the country without inspection or overstayed their visas. They face unique legal uncertainties and limitations within the US educational system.

In-State Tuition (AB 540, AB 2000, SB 68)

California laws that allow qualifying students, who would otherwise not be eligible for in-state tuition, to pay in-state tuition at UC, CSU, or California Community Colleges.

  • Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540), passed in 2001 to amend Section 68130.5 of the Education Code. It grants students meeting certain eligibility criteria an exemption from paying nonresident tuition at the CCC. Students granted this exemption will receive in-state CA tuition rates.
  • Assembly Bill 2000 (AB2000), passed in 2014 to amend Section 68130.5 of the Education Code. This is an expansion of AB540. It increases the scope of student eligibility for students who graduated early from a California High School with the equivalent of three or more years of credits. If a student graduates early, they must have attended CA high elementary, middle school, and/or high school for a cumulative total of 3 or more years. It grants students meeting certain eligibility criteria an exemption from paying nonresident tuition at the CCC. Students granted this exemption will receive in-state CA tuition rates
  • Assembly Bill 68 (SB68), passed in 2017 to amend Section 68130.5 of Education Code., This changed the criteria for students eligible for a nonresident tuition exemption, as previously defined in Assembly Bill 540 (2001). Senate Bill 68 expands the requirements of AB 540/ AB 2000 to include attendance at California Community Colleges and attainment of an associate's degree.
Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
An ITIN is a tax-processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status and are used for federal tax reporting only. These numbers are not intended to serve any other purpose. An ITIN can be used to apply to college, but is not required.
International Student
International students include those who currently hold specific visas. Undocumented students are not considered international applicants because many do not qualify for a visa and do not have to go through the international admission process.
Mixed-Status Family

A mixed status family is one in which some family members are US citizens and/or legal residents while others remain undocumented. For example:

  • A documented student with undocumented parents
  • A documented student with undocumented siblings

The term non-citizen applies to students who:

  • Are not US citizens or permanent residents
  • Do not hold a valid visa
  • Are not seeking a visa for study or documentation for residency in the US
Overstayed Visa
An individual with an overstayed visa is one who has stayed in the US after their tourist, visitor, or student visa has expired.
Senate Bill (SB) 54
Senate Bill 54 (De Leon, 2017) ensures that no state or local resources are diverted to fuel any attempt by the federal government to carry out mass deportations and that schools, hospitals, and courthouses are safe spaces for everyone in the community.
Senate Bill (SB) 68
SB 68 is a law that expands on AB 540 to enable students to count years spent at a California Community College and adult education towards AB 540 eligibility. Additionally, SB 68 allows the completion of an associate degree or satisfaction of the minimum requirements to transfer to the University of California or California State University as sufficient for students to qualify for in-state tuition and financial aid.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.
UndocuAlly is a term adopted to refer to allies for undocumented young people.
Undocu-friendly is a term that refers to institutions that have policies or systems in place that aim to support undocumented students.

The term ‘undocumented immigrant’ refers to anyone residing in any given country without legal documentation. This may include people who:

  • Entered the US without inspection
  • Entered the US legally but overstayed
  • Have or previously had Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status
  • Are in the process of legalizing
Undocuscholar is another term for an undocumented student.
U Visa/U-Visa/U Non-Immigrant Status
U-visa, or the U nonimmigrant status (U visa), is set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity.