Building Skills & Educational Attainment

Immigrant applicants who will face a public charge determination may benefit from building their skills and education to enhance positive factors of their assessment, including their English proficiency, work skills and level of education.

Below is a chart of how education and skills will be weighed. Resources to help support building skills and education are listed below the chart.

Applicant’s Education and Skills

Positive Factor

  • Attendance in elementary, middle, or high school
  • High School Diploma or GED or equivalent
  • Higher education such as Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree, or Doctoral Degree
  • Skills and certifications relevant to employment
  • Basic English proficiency
  • Primary Caregiver
  • Other language skills in addition to English

Negative Factors

  • No high school diploma or GED or equivalent
  • No work experience
  • No occupational skills
  • Limited to no English language proficiency

Heavily Weighted Negative Factor

  • The immigrant is not a full-time student and is authorized to work, but is unable to demonstrate current employment, recent employment history, or a reasonable prospect of future employment

Heavily Weighted Positive Factor

  • The immigrant is authorized to work and is currently employed in a legal industry with an annual income, excluding any income from illegal activities, of at least 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for the immigrant’s household size

Find Jobs & Training

California has services to help people find jobs. Community based organizations, adult schools, and community colleges have programs and services that can help you get job training and increase your job skills. These organizations have events like job hiring fairs and give classes in job training and career technical education.

Jobs and training programs are NOT part of the public charge determination.

For more information regarding these services please visit https://immigrantguide.ca.gov/en/FindJobsAndTraining.

Education — Services

California has schools for people of all ages and skill levels. There are public and private elementary, middle, and high schools. There are also private colleges and universities. Our state public colleges include the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), and California Community Colleges (CCC), which all have campuses across the State.

California also has student financial aid programs for people who need help paying for school. The programs can help people who are getting a bachelor’s degree, a teaching credential, or a technical or vocational certificate. California also offers the Dream Act for undocumented students who qualify to apply for state financial aid.

Financial aid is NOT part of the public charge determination.

For more information regarding these services please visit https://immigrantguide.ca.gov/en/Education.