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California Application for Dream Act (CADA)

The California Dream Act allows certain students who met the requirements below to apply for and receive state financial aid at California public and private colleges and private scholarships administered by California public colleges.

Students need to meet the following Assembly Bill (AB) 540 qualifications/(AB) 2000:

  • Attend a California high school for a minimum of three years ((AB) 2000 - minimum of three years at a California school);
  • Graduate from a California high school or pass the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE) or get a General Equivalency Diploma (GED);
  • Enroll in an accredited and qualified California college or university; and
  • If applicable, fill out an affidavit to legalize immigration status as soon as eligible.

You could be eligible for the following types of aid:

  • Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOG)
  • Cal Grants (must apply by the March 2nd deadline)
  • Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS)
  • Privately funded scholarships
  • Chafee Grant (for foster youth)

California Application for Dream Act information is not shared with federal databases, student and parent information is protected by the same privacy and information security laws and safeguards as all other state financial aid applicants.

CADA Process at Merced College


Submit a free California Application for Dream Act online and list Merced College as a school of attendance. Our school code is 00123700.

NOTE: Before beginning your CADA application you must create a User ID and Password which you will use to electronically sign your application.  If you need to provide parental information, you will also have to obtain a PIN for one parent.  You can apply for your parent PIN once you submit your application.  Your parent PIN will be 4 numbers generated for you by CSAC.  You do not need to get a new PIN each time you file a Dream Act as long as your remember your parent PIN.  You DO need to complete a new CADA Application for every school year.

You can use our computers in the FAFSA Lab (Lesher 326) to submit your Dream Act Application.

The California Student Aid Commission analyzes your CADA information, creates a California Student Aid Report (CalSAR), sends an electronic copy to the schools listed on your CADA Application. This information is used to calculate your EFC, and to determine your eligibility for grants and scholarships. We may also require you to complete additional forms.   


The Merced College Financial Aid Office will contact you once we download your CalSAR. 

A financial aid staff member will review your CalSAR and award any grants or waivers for which you qualify. If any further information is required to complete your application process you will be notified.

NOTE: If you have not been contacted by the Merced College Financial Aid Office within 3 to 4 weeks of your CADA Submission come into the Financial Aid Office. 

The recent federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) does not prevent students from applying for the California Dream Act financial Aid. California students who have applied for or received approval for Deferred Action should complete the California Dream Act Application, not the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Learn more at or

For more information on the California Dream Act please visit or