Newsom Administration Opposes Cal Grant Overhaul

A bill that would expand Cal Grant eligibility by up to 200,000 additional students could be headed for a veto. The Department of Finance said last week that AB 1456 would cost too much money, could block aid for some students, and could lead four-year universities to raise tuition.

AB 1456 was passed unanimously by the California Legislature. It would do away with the minimum GPA requirement for community college students and lower the GPA requirement for UC and CSU students from 3.0 to 2.0. This would reduce barriers for older students who often have trouble accessing old transcripts, proponents say. Community college students would also get a cost-of-living adjustment for the amount of aid they receive.

The California Student Aid Commission, which backs the bill, has estimated the cost of the overhaul at $82.6 million. The Finance Department estimates that figure is closer to $174.4 million.

Finance also worries that “relying upon institutional aid to further support non-tuition costs could create pressure for institutions to increase tuition and mandatory fees.” And because the bill changes some income qualifications, the department expressed concerns that future students who are currently eligible for Cal Grants may no longer be eligible in the future.

The governor has until Oct. 10 to sign the bill. 

Read more at EdSource


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