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SB-646 Student financial aid: veterans and dependents.(2009-2010)

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SB646:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  May 06, 2009

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2009–2010 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 646


Introduced  by  Senator Denham

February 27, 2009


An act to amend Section 66025.6 of, to add Sections 66025.4 and 66025.5 to, and to add the heading of Article 3.7 (commencing with Section 66025.3) to Chapter 2 of Part 40 of Division 5 of Title 3 of, the Education Code, relating to student financial aid.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 646, as amended, Denham. Student financial aid: veterans and dependents.
(1) Existing law, the Donahoe Higher Education Act, sets forth, among other things, the missions and functions of California’s public and independent segments of higher education, and their respective institutions of higher education. Under existing law, the segments of the public higher education system in the state include the University of California, which is administered by the Regents of the University of California, the California State University, which is administered by the Trustees of the California State University, and the California Community Colleges, which is administered by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. Provisions of the Donahoe Higher Education Act apply to the University of California only to the extent that the Regents of the University of California, by appropriate resolution, act to make a provision applicable.
An existing provision of the act prohibits any campus of the University of California, the California State University, or the California Community Colleges from charging any mandatory systemwide tuition or fees, including enrollment fees, registration fees, differential fees, or incidental fees, to prescribed categories of children and other dependents of veterans of the United States military or members of the California National Guard who have been killed in service, or who have died of a service-connected disability. Other provisions waive these fees for undergraduate students who are recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor or the children of recipients of that medal who meet prescribed requirements. Additional provisions waive the community college enrollment fees of specified dependents of members of the California National Guard who are killed in the line of duty or died of a disability resulting from an event that occurred while in the active service of the state, or are permanently disabled as a result of such an event.
This bill would enact the Golden State GI Bill of Rights for Higher Education, also known as the Cal GI Bill of Rights. The bill would prohibit any campus of the University of California, the California State University, or the California Community Colleges from charging any mandatory systemwide tuition or fees, including enrollment fees, registration fees, differential fees, or incidental fees, to a California resident, as defined, who is an undergraduate student or a graduate student seeking a postbaccalaureate degree, and who, irrespective of income level or need, was a member of the Armed Forces of the United States who enlisted therein while he or she was a California resident and who was honorably discharged from the Armed Forces, or is, or has been, on active duty, as defined, as a member of the California National Guard, the State Military Reserve, or the Naval Militia, and has demonstrated, in a prescribed manner, that he or she has no remaining months of educational benefits for which he or she is eligible under the federal GI Bill. The bill would specify that no person may obtain a waiver of fees for a number of academic semester or equivalent quarters that is longer than the number of semesters or quarters for which he or she previously received educational benefits under the federal GI Bill.
The bill would provide that a graduate student who qualifies for a fee waiver under these provisions may use that waiver for studies leading to no more than one postbaccalaureate degree.
The bill would provide that these fee waivers would be operative only in those fiscal years in which funds are specifically appropriated for those purposes.
The bill would provide that a person who qualifies for a waiver of mandatory systemwide tuition and fees under one or more specified provisions, including this bill and the provisions of existing law discussed above, may choose to apply for a waiver under the provision that provides him or her with the greatest benefit, but may not concurrently receive a waiver under more than one of these provisions.
In accordance with existing law, the bill would apply to the University of California only if the regents act, by resolution, to make it applicable.
To the extent that the bill would require community college districts to revise their procedures for calculating enrollment fees for students, the bill would constitute a state-mandated local program.
The bill would also make various technical and conforming changes.
(2) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The heading of Article 3.7 (commencing with Section 66025.3) is added to Chapter 2 of Part 40 of Division 5 of Title 3 of the Education Code, to read:
Article  3.7. Veterans of the Armed Forces and Their Dependents

SEC. 2.

 Section 66025.4 is added to the Education Code, to read:

66025.4.
 (a) This section shall be known, and may be cited, as the Golden State GI Bill of Rights for Higher Education or as the Cal GI Bill of Rights.
(b) A campus of the University of California, the California State University, or the California Community Colleges shall not charge any mandatory systemwide tuition or fees, including enrollment fees, registration fees, differential fees, or incidental fees, to a California resident, as defined in Section 68017, who is an undergraduate student or a graduate student seeking a postbaccalaureate degree in accordance with subdivision (c), and who, irrespective of income level or need, meets both of the following requirements:
(1) The person either: (A) served as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States who enlisted therein while he or she was a California resident and who was honorably discharged from the Armed Forces; or (B) is, or has been, on active duty, under Title 10 or Title 32 of the United States Code, as a member of the California National Guard, the State Military Reserve, or the Naval Militia.
(2) The person provides documentation, in accordance with subdivision (d), that he or she has no remaining months of educational benefits for which he or she is eligible under the federal Montgomery GI Bill (38 U.S.C. Sec. 3001 et seq.).
(c) A graduate student who meets the qualifications of subdivision (b) may utilize the waiver of fees provided under this section for studies leading to no more than one postbaccalaureate degree.
(d) In order to demonstrate that he or she has no remaining months of federal educational benefits for which he or she is eligible, a person shall present written notice of that fact from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to the appropriate official at the campus where he or she enrolls.
(e) No person may obtain a waiver of fees provided under this section for a number of academic semesters or equivalent quarters that is longer than the number of academic semesters or equivalent quarters for which he or she previously received educational benefits under the federal Montgomery GI Bill (38 U.S.C. Sec. 3001 et seq.).
(f) In each fiscal year, this section shall be operative only if funds are specifically appropriated in the annual Budget Act or another statute for that fiscal year for purposes of fully reimbursing the University of California, the California State University, and the California Community Colleges for the respective institution’s costs and revenue losses associated with implementing this section.

SEC. 3.

 Section 66025.5 is added to the Education Code, to read:

66025.5.
 (a) A person who qualifies for a waiver of mandatory systemwide tuition or fees under more than one of the provisions listed in subdivision (b) may choose to apply for a waiver under the section that provides him or her with the greatest benefit, but he or she may not concurrently receive a waiver under more than one of these provisions.
(b) (1) Section 66025.3.
(2) Section 66025.4.
(3) Subdivision (h), (i), or (j) of Section 76300.

SEC. 4.

 Section 66025.6 of the Education Code is amended to read:

66025.6.
 (a) As used in this article, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Active duty” means either of the following:
(A) Active federal service or full-time national guard duty on behalf of the United States of America either voluntarily, or when involuntarily ordered to duty by appropriate authorities under Title 10 or Title 32 of the United States Code during a period of armed conflict, mobilization, contingency operations, or other crisis.
(B) (i) Active military duty in the service of the state when the Governor has issued a proclamation of a state of insurrection pursuant to Section 143 of the Military and Veterans Code or a proclamation of a state of emergency; or
(ii) When the National Guard is on active duty pursuant to Section 146 of the Military and Veterans Code, or is called to active service or duty under Chapter 7.5 (commencing with Section 400) of Part 1 of Division 2 of the Military and Veterans Code, and a certificate of satisfactory service, or an equivalent thereof, is issued by the Military Department.
(2) “Qualifying member” means a person who:
(A) Is a resident, as defined in Section 68017.
(B) Is currently an active member of, and has satisfactorily served for at least one year in, the California National Guard, the State Military Reserve, or the Naval Militia, and maintains satisfactory service throughout the period that he or she receives consideration pursuant to this section, or throughout the period that his or her student loan payments are assumed under former Article 12.5 (commencing with Section 69750) of Chapter 2 of Part 42, as it reads read on December 31, 2007, whichever is longer.
(C) Has completed a baccalaureate degree, or is currently enrolled, and in good standing, in an undergraduate program of instruction, or has been admitted to a program in which he or she will be enrolled, on at least a half-time basis, at an institution of higher education in this state, or is enrolled in or has completed a program of instruction in a vocational diploma program as defined in former Section 94746, as it reads read on June 30, 2007, where enrollment qualifies a student for participation in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1071 et seq.) or any loan program approved by the Student Aid Commission.
(b) (1) (A) Any qualifying member, and any member of the California National Guard, the State Military Reserve, or the Naval Militia who meets the qualifications of subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) and who is enrolled, and in good standing in a graduate program of instruction, who undertakes active duty is entitled to an academic leave of absence for any academic session that the person is unable to attend or complete because he or she is on active duty.
(B) It is the intent of the Legislature that a graduate or undergraduate student who is called to active military duty as a member of the California National Guard, the State Military Reserve, or the Naval Militia not be academically penalized as a result of any academic leave of absence that he or she takes in accordance with this paragraph.
(2) To the extent that it is feasible, graduation requirements for a qualifying member who, within one year of returning from active duty, resumes his or her studies at the same postsecondary educational institution shall be the same as the graduation requirements at the time the qualifying member initially enrolled.
(c) The Military Department shall determine whether an individual meets the requirements of “active duty” and “qualifying member,” as they are set forth in subdivision (a). The department shall issue a certificate to individuals who meet those requirements.
(d) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2012, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute that is enacted before January 1, 2012, deletes or extends that date.

SEC. 5.

 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.