Commonly Used Words

The following terms and definitions aim to provide the differences between commonly used words.

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The California Dream Act allows undocumented and nonresident documented students who meet certain provisions to apply for and receive private scholarships funded through public universities, state administered financial aid, university grants, community college fee waivers, and Cal Grants. Ensure your high school has verified your GPA, for questions visit or call 1-888-224-7268
Refers to people who came to the United States as children and meet several eligibility requirements.* DACA provides a 2-year deportation reprieve and applicants may apply for a work authorization permit, which is subject to renewal. It does not provide lawful status. Only young adults who were 31 years old or younger on June 15, 2012 qualify for this program. For more information regarding DACA, visit

*Verify if eligible for DACA renewal
Refers to a student who is undocumented and is also part of the DREAM (stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act movement. DREAMer is a term commonly used by students who connect with the DREAM Act movement and is sometimes used as a synonym or in place of terms such as, undocumented, immigrant, and non-U.S. citizen.
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. AB 2000 allows three full-time years in an elementary, middle school, high school, adult school and/or Department of Rehabilitation and Correction school to be considered in establishing AB 540 eligibility, and SB 68 allows community college years/time in meeting AB 540 eligibility.
A mixed-status family” is a family whose members include people with different citizenship or immigration statuses. Some may be U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, recipients of DACA, while others remain without a recognized immigration status. The composition of mixed-status families vary.
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 U.S. 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.
T-visa/T Nonimmigrant Status (T visa) is set aside for those who are or have been victims of human trafficking and are willing to assist law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of acts of trafficking. The T nonimmigrant visa allows victims to remain in the United States to assist in the investigation or prosecution of human traffickers. Once a T nonimmigrant visa is granted, a victim can apply for permanent residence after three years. USCIS
Refers to people who are not U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents of the United States, who do not hold a current visa to reside in the U.S. and who have not been approved for legal residency in the U.S.
Another term for undocumented student.
U-visa/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.

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