Today's Law As Amended

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AB-227 CalWORKs: education incentives. (2017-2018)



SECTION 1.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) In California’s high-skill economy, it is very difficult to get a good, middle-class job without vocational education or a college degree, let alone a high school diploma.
(b) This is a significant barrier to socioeconomic mobility for California’s highly vulnerable CalWORKs recipients, because as many as 65 percent of CalWORKs recipients do not have a high school education.
(c) Research has consistently shown that postsecondary education boosts social mobility, particularly for those at the bottom of the income distribution scale, and that a parent’s level of education has positive effects on his or her child’s level of success into middle adulthood.
(d) California has the seventh largest federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families cash grant in the nation, and the second largest among the 10 largest states.
(e) Poverty remains a persistent problem.
(f) This act is intended to provide incentives for CalWORKs recipients to pursue education, thereby improving the opportunities and outcomes for adults and children in the CalWORKs program.

SEC. 2.

 Article 3.7 (commencing with Section 11340) is added to Chapter 2 of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

Article  3.7. CalWORKs Educational Opportunity and Attainment Program
11340.
 This article shall be known, and may be cited, as the CalWORKs Educational Opportunity and Attainment Program.
11341.
 (a) A CalWORKs recipient may apply to receive an education incentive grant in the amount of one hundred dollars ($100) per month for completion of a high school diploma or its equivalent, as an ongoing adjustment to the recipient’s monthly cash grant.
(b) (1) A CalWORKs recipient may apply to receive education stipends totaling no more than two thousand four hundred dollars ($2,400) per year for enrollment in an education or training program leading to a career technical education program certificate, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree.
(2) The stipend described in paragraph (1) shall be paid to a CalWORKs recipient at the outset of each term for which he or she is registered and shall be prorated according to the number of units or courses he or she is enrolled in as a percentage of full-time enrollment, as defined by the school or program in which he or she is enrolled. The department shall develop regulations establishing a schedule of payments by various term lengths and percentage of full-time enrollment wherein full-time enrollment for the year in any eligible program yields annual stipends totaling two thousand four hundred dollars ($2,400).
11342.
 (a) (1) A CalWORKs recipient who applies for an education incentive grant pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 11341 shall submit evidence of completion of the high school educational program to the county. A recipient is not eligible unless all of the following criteria are satisfied:
(A) The recipient completed a high school educational program included in the recipient’s welfare-to-work plan approved by the county.
(B) The recipient completed a high school educational program offered by an accredited educational institution.
(C) The recipient completed the high school educational program while receiving CalWORKs assistance.
(2) Upon verification of completion of the high school educational program described in paragraph (1), the county shall certify that the recipient is eligible for an education incentive grant and shall ensure that the recipient’s monthly cash grant is increased as prescribed in subdivision (a) of Section 11341.
(b) (1) A CalWORKs recipient who applies for an education stipend described in subdivision (b) of Section 11341 shall submit evidence of enrollment to the county. A recipient is not eligible unless all of the following criteria are satisfied:
(A) The recipient is enrolled in an education or training program that is included in the recipient’s welfare-to-work plan approved by the county.
(B) The recipient is enrolled in an education or training program that is offered by an accredited educational institution.
(C) The recipient is enrolled in an education or training program described in subdivision (b) of Section 11341 while receiving CalWORKs assistance.
(2) Within 10 business days of verifying that a recipient is enrolled in an education or training program as described in paragraph (1), the county shall certify that the recipient is eligible for an education stipend and shall ensure that the recipient receives the stipend as prescribed in subdivision (b) of Section 11341.
11343.
 (a) A CalWORKs recipient who is receiving an education incentive grant and then ceases to receive CalWORKs assistance shall not be eligible for the same education incentive grant if he or she begins receiving CalWORKs assistance in the future.
(b) If a CalWORKs recipient who receives an education stipend is unable to satisfactorily complete, as defined by the school or program of enrollment, a portion or all of the coursework for which he or she received a stipend, the subsequent stipend received by the recipient shall be reduced by the prorated amount of the previous stipend attributable to the portion of the coursework that was not satisfactorily completed. This subdivision shall not be construed to reduce a recipient’s CalWORKs cash aid.
(c) A CalWORKs recipient is permanently ineligible for an education incentive grant or education stipend under either of the following circumstances:
(1) The recipient has exhausted his or her CalWORKs benefits.
(2) The recipient has committed public assistance fraud, as described in Article 7 (commencing with Section 11476.6).
(d) A CalWORKs recipient shall not receive an education incentive grant or education stipend in any month during which he or she is sanctioned.
11344.
 This article shall be operative only upon the appropriation in the annual Budget Act of an amount sufficient to carry out the purposes of this article, as determined annually by the State Department of Social Services.
SEC. 3.
 (a) (1) Contingent upon an appropriation in the annual Budget Act for the purposes of this section, as described in subdivision (c), the sum of twenty million dollars ($20,000,000) is hereby allocated to the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges to fund services provided under the CalWORKs Recipients Education Program (Article 5 (commencing with Section 79200) of Chapter 9 of Part 48 of Division 7 of Title 3 of the Education Code), including, but not limited to, education and career counseling services, employment development services, including job development staff positions, and workstudy positions.
(2) Ten million dollars ($10,000,000) of the amount described in paragraph (1) shall be used solely to support CalWORKs recipients in working toward completion of their high school diploma or its equivalent.
(b) On or before March 31, 2019, the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges shall submit a report, in accordance with Section 9795 of the Government Code, to the Legislature containing information on the number and description of additional services provided and number of CalWORKs recipients served as a result of the appropriation described in subdivision (a), including data and information regarding the use of the sum described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), to serve CalWORKs recipients pursuing a high school diploma or its equivalent, and the number of recipients completing their high school diploma or equivalent during the 2018 calendar year.
(c) This section shall become operative only upon the appropriation of $20,000,000 in the annual Budget Act for the purposes of this section.
SEC. 4.
 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.
SEC. 5.
 No appropriation pursuant to Section 15200 of the Welfare and Institutions Code shall be made for purposes of implementing this act.