March 10, 2023
Contact: Melissa Villarin
Office: 916-327-5365
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Community Colleges Interim Chancellor Daisy Gonzales, PhD, and the statewide Student Senate for California Community Colleges today issued the following statement on President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget request, released Thursday:

“California Community Colleges leaders and the statewide Student Senate for California Community College, representing 1.8 million students in the largest system of public higher education in the United States, commended President Biden and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona for their Fiscal Year 2024 budget request, which was released yesterday. The Biden Administration is proposing historic investments in college affordability and financial aid for community college students, including an increase in the maximum Pell Grant award to $8,215, a renewed call for a federal-state partnership to guarantee tuition-free community college for all Americans, and innovative new grant programs to improve student success and reduce equity gaps.

“We commend President Biden and Secretary Cardona for their continued innovative and student-centered proposals to expand access and equity in higher education,” said Dr. Daisy Gonzales, interim chancellor of the California Community Colleges. “A federal-state partnership to provide two years of tuition-free community college nationwide would provide critical funds to states that already invest and recognize the unique needs of community college students. With this federal support, advancing equitable student outcomes and designing equitable financial aid systems, like the Cal Grant system in California, can be expedited to eliminate the biggest barrier for community college students, which include the cost of textbooks, housing, food and transportation."

Clemaus Tervalon, a student at Laney College and the current president of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, noted the impact of the Biden proposal to continue increasing the maximum Pell Grant, to a historic high of $8,215 for full-time students.

“Most California community college students receive some form of financial aid to assist with tuition, but the cost of living has increased, and many students struggle with food and housing insecurity, limiting their ability to be successful in college,” said President Tervalon. “Increasing the maximum Pell Grant, as President Biden has proposed every year, would help countless numbers of low-income students complete their education and graduate sooner. We also commend the proposed increase in funding for community colleges’ workforce development programs, helping our graduates enter high-wage, skilled employment opportunities. We urge Congress to approve these historic investments, for the sake of not just college students but an equitable economic recovery for all Americans.”

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 116 colleges serving 1.8 million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; and degree and certificate pathways. 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, Instagram and Twitter.