October 07, 2021
Contact: Melissa Villarin
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Leaders of the California Community Colleges, the largest system of higher education in the nation, commended Gov. Gavin Newsom’s focus on higher education policy.
On Wednesday, the governor signed 21 pieces of legislation, addressing college issues ranging from student housing to the expansion of the baccalaureate degree program at California Community Colleges. While applauding the governor for several of the actions taken thus far, California Community Colleges Acting Chancellor Daisy Gonzales and Board of Governors President Pamela Haynes call on him to also open access to state-based financial aid to all students by signing Assembly Bill 1456.
The bill, known as the Cal Grant Reform Act, is authored by legislative education leaders Asms. Jose Medina, Kevin McCarty and Sen. Connie Leyva, and would guarantee a CalGrant award to all California college students regardless of their age, time since high school graduation or high school GPA. This critical legislation also ensures CalGrants do not lose value over time by applying an annual inflationary growth factor to the maximum award for community college students.
“We commend the Governor’s unwavering support for college access and affordability, demonstrated by a historic budget investment of more than $47 billion,” Gonzales said. “However, without equitable access to financial aid programs, hundreds of thousands of low-income California community college students will be denied the aid they need to not only afford college but to excel.” Board President Pamela Haynes stated, “The total cost of college includes much more than just tuition. The governor can help all Californians access a quality higher education by signing AB 1456. Our students cannot afford to wait any longer.”
AB 1456 follows significant investments made in expanding state-based financial aid in the 2021-22 California budget and is supported by a broad coalition of student-led advocacy groups, higher education stakeholders, and the business community.
The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 116 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; degree and certificate pathways; and basic skills education in English and math. As the state’s engine for social and economic mobility, the California Community Colleges supports the Vision for Success, a strategic plan designed to improve student success outcomes, increase transfer rates and eliminate achievement gaps. For more information, please visit the California Community Colleges website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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