Preparing to File the CADAA


Everything You Need to Know About the California Dream Act Application (CADAA)

Hey future college students! If you’re looking for ways to fund your education, the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) is a fantastic resource you should know about. This guide will help you understand what CADAA is, who’s eligible, and how to apply. Let’s dive in!

What is the California Dream Act?

The California Dream Act allows undocumented students, DACA recipients (valid or expired), U Visa holders, and students under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to access various forms of financial aid. This includes private scholarships, state-administered financial aid, university grants, community college fee waivers, and Cal Grants. Plus, it allows eligible students to pay in-state tuition at public colleges in California. 

Who Can Apply for CADAA?

You can apply for CADAA if you live in California and meet the eligibility requirements for a non-resident exemption. This includes: 

  • Undocumented students 
  • DACA recipients 
  • U Visa holders 
  • TPS recipients 

Even if you don’t have a Social Security Number or have lost DACA status, you may still be eligible.

When Should You Apply?

To maximize financial aid options, you should apply by the March 2 priority deadline. If you’re attending a California Community College, you have until September 2 to submit your application. 

How is CADAA Different from FAFSA?

FAFSA and CADAA are two different applications for financial aid. You should only complete one based on your citizenship status: 

FAFSA: For U.S. citizens, permanent residents, eligible non-citizens, and T Visa holders.
CADAA: For undocumented students, DACA recipients, U Visa holders, and TPS recipients. 

Visit the California Student Aid Commission’s registration page to verify which application is right for you. 

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for CADAA, you need to meet the following non-resident exemption requirements: 

Time and Coursework Requirements: 

  • Attend a California high school for three or more years, OR 
  • Earn credits from a California high school equivalent to three years of full-time coursework, OR 
  • Earn credits at a California adult school or community college. 

Degree or Unit Requirements: 

  • Graduate from a California high school or equivalent, OR 
  • Earn an Associate degree from a California community college, OR 
  • Meet the minimum transfer requirements from a California community college to a UC or CSU campus. 

Enrollment: Register or enroll in an accredited and qualifying California college or university. 

Non-Resident Exemption Request: Submit a signed “Non-Resident Exemption” Request (often referred to as an AB 540 affidavit).

Key Points to Remember

  • Privacy: Your information on the CADAA is not shared with federal databases and is protected by privacy laws. 
  • DACA Recipients: Even if you have applied for or received DACA approval, complete the CADAA instead of FAFSA. 
  • Cal Grants: Cal Grants provide free money for college that doesn’t have to be paid back. You must complete your CADAA and submit a school-verified GPA by March 2 to qualify. 
  • Additional Aid: You can also apply for the California College Promise Grant, Middle Class Scholarship, and other state financial aid. Check with your college’s financial aid office for details. 
  • Workshops & Office Hours: Get application assistance when you attend a Cash for College workshop or when you attend IE Success’ office hours.

Additional Resources for Undocumented Students

The California Dream Act Application is essential for undocumented and other eligible students to access college financial aid. Understanding the application process and eligibility criteria will help you utilize available resources to fund your education. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it, and remember, completing the CADAA is an important step toward achieving your educational goals. 

The CADAA Made Easy – Your Guide to Financial Aid

Filling out the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) is an important step towards securing financial aid for your college education. The process might seem overwhelming, but with the right guidance, you can do it. This guide will walk you through each step of the application, from registering for an account to confirming your submission. By following these steps carefully, you’ll ensure that your application is accurate and complete, maximizing your chances of receiving the financial aid you need. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Register for an Account

1. Visit the CADAA website: 

2. Create a new account: If you don’t already have one, click “Start a New Application.” Lost your login info? Contact CSAC Student Support for help. 

3. Provide your legal name: Use the name on your documentation or birth certificate.

4. Answer eligibility questions: Indicate if you have a Social Security Number (SSN) and whether it’s a DACA SSN.

5. Complete the AB 540 criteria questions: If applicable, check “Yes.” Not sure what AB 540 is? Check out Immigrants Rising’s AB 540 Quick Guide for more information.

Step 2: Complete the Registration

1. Set up your User ID: Make sure it’s unique.

2. Check your email: Follow the link to create your password (valid for 24 hours).

3. Create security questions: These will help you recover your account if you forget your password.

4. Enable 2-Factor Authorization: A one-time password will be sent to you every time you log in.

Step 3: Fill Out the Application

The CADAA form has five sections: 

1. Student Section: 

Personal Identifiers: Enter your basic information.
High School Details: Provide details about your high school. 
Colleges: List up to 20 colleges you’re interested in attending. 
AB 540 Affidavit: Complete the affidavit embedded in the application.
DSIG Option: Indicate if you’re interested in the Dream Act Service Incentive Grant

2. Parent Section: 

Personal Identifiers: Basic demographic information of your parents. 
Non-Financial Information: Marital status, state of residence, and household size. 
Financials: Tax filing details, current income, and asset totals. 

What parent needs to provide information?

Only one parent’s information is needed if: 
Your parent is not married and not living with your other parent, your parent is divorced and has not remarried, or if your parents are separated and not living in the same household. 

Two parents’ info are needed if: 
Your parents are not married but live together, are married to each other, or are married/remarried to your stepparent. 

3. Signature Section: 

Student Signature: Declare and affirm the information is correct. 

Parent Signature: Only one parent needs to sign. If a parent isn’t present, they can sign by logging back into the application

Step 4: Confirmation 

1. Receive Confirmation Email: Once your application is submitted, you’ll get a confirmation email. 

2. Check for Additional Steps: The confirmation page will indicate if there are any further actions required. 

3. Review Your CalSAR: Your California Student Aid Report will be available, showing all the information you submitted.

We’re Here to Help!

If you need more help with filling out the CADAA or have questions, we’re here for you! Check out our office hours to get one-on-one help from a certified financial aid expert. You can also call the California Student Aid Commission at 888-224-7268 or email for questions. 

Completing the CADAA is an important step toward accessing the financial aid you need for your college education. By following these steps, you can ensure that your application is accurate and complete. Remember, help is always available if you need it. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the support teams if you have any questions or need further clarification. Good luck, and congratulations on taking this crucial step toward your education! You’ve got this! 

Exploring Financial Aid Options: Your Path to Affording College as an Undocumented Student

At IE Success, we know that figuring out your financial aid options can feel overwhelming, but it’s a crucial step in making college more affordable. Don’t worry, we’re here to help! This guide will walk you through various financial aid resources, showing you how to access and make the most of them effectively.

Applying for Financial Aid

Complete the CADAA: The California Dream Act allows undocumented students, DACA recipients (valid or expired), U Visa holders, and students under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to access various forms of financial aid. You may eligible for private scholarships, state-administered financial aid, university grants, community college fee waivers, and Cal grants. Plus, it allows eligible students to pay in-state tuition at public colleges in California. 

Available Types of Financial Aid: 

Scholarships are free money awarded based on financial need, academic merit, talent, or other criteria. The best part? They don’t need to be repaid. Search for Scholarships regularly and apply to as many as you qualify for. Scholarships can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket costs. Start by checking with your school to see what scholarships may be available.   

 High school counselors often have information about local scholarships and can guide you through the application process. Additionally, colleges frequently offer their own scholarships, and their financial aid offices can provide details on how to apply.  

National scholarship resources:  

Grants are typically need-based and also do not require repayment. Common grants include the Dreamer Service Incentive Grant, Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, California College Promise Grant, Middle Class Scholarship, Chafee Grant and other state financial aid.  

Programs like the California College Corps offer AB 540 CA Dream Act Students the opportunity to earn money while serving their community. Visit the California College Corps to see if this program is available at your school. 

Tips for Maximizing Financial Aid

Start Early: Begin your search and application process early to ensure you meet all deadlines. Pay close attention to application deadlines for CADAA, scholarships, and grants. Missing deadlines can limit your financial aid opportunities.  

Stay Organized: Keep track of all applications and required documents. Use tools like the Get Schooled Scholarship Tracker and their Scholarship Finder to keep track of important dates and requirements.  

Seek Guidance: Utilize school counselors and online resources like Cash for College office hours to navigate the financial aid process.

You’ve Got This!

Choosing the right financial aid options is a big step, but you’ve got this! Use the resources available to you, keep track of deadlines, and stay organized. Remember, it’s all about finding the best fit for you. Congratulations on taking these important steps toward your future. You’re well on your way to an amazing college experience.