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AB-2346 Community colleges: students enrolled in early childhood education or child development courses: fee waivers.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 04/28/2020 09:00 PM
AB2346:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 04, 2020

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 2346


Introduced by Assembly Member Berman

February 18, 2020


An act to amend Section 76300 of the Education Code, relating to community colleges.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2346, as amended, Berman. Community colleges: part-time students enrolled in early childhood education or child development courses: fee waivers.
Existing law establishes the California Community Colleges, under the administration of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, as one of the segments of public postsecondary education in this state. Existing law authorizes community colleges to charge students a fee of $46 per unit per semester, and also authorizes the waiver of this fee for students who meet specified criteria.

This bill would express the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to support part-time students who enroll in early childhood education or child development courses at the California Community Colleges by providing fee waivers for those courses.

This bill would require the governing board of each community college district to waive the fee requirement for any student enrolled in certain child development courses who has declared a specified child development major and who has completed and submitted either a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or a California Dream Act application. To the extent this bill would impose a new duty on a community college district, this bill would create a state-mandated local program.
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 the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NOYES  

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


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) An investment in early childhood education (ECE) is an investment in the long-term health and vitality of California.
(1) High-quality ECE programs are critical to supporting working families. Almost 2.8 million California workers have children under six years of age according to the United States Census Bureau. Of these, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health estimates that approximately one-third report difficulty finding care for their children. Only one-half of California’s families who are eligible for subsidized early education programs have access to this care, leaving out the children most in need. The shortage of childcare is a drain on California’s economy: California businesses lose approximately $638,000,000 annually due to employee absences resulting from breakdowns in childcare arrangements. In addition, three-quarters of mothers and one-half of fathers have either left the workforce or switched to a less demanding job in order to care for their children.
(2) High-quality ECE programs mitigate the effects of childhood poverty. Though 90 percent of brain development occurs by age five, many children do not have access to the quality ECE programs they need to become healthy, successful adults. Almost one-half of California’s children live at or near poverty, which has long-lasting impacts on children’s health, social-emotional, and cognitive outcomes. As early as 18 months of age, the parental stress and household instability caused by poverty can result in an opportunity gap that widens throughout childhood. However, high-quality ECE programs can mitigate this gap for disadvantaged children. According to Nobel Laureate James Heckman, these programs have lasting effects on IQ, increase academic and economic achievement, and even help prevent the incidence of chronic disease and obesity in adulthood. Investments in high-quality ECE programs more than pay for themselves in increased productivity and reduced social spending. The outcomes are multigenerational, equipping children and families to break the cycle of poverty.
(b) A well-supported workforce is essential to high-quality ECE.
(1) California is experiencing a growing shortage of early childhood educators. Although California lacks comprehensive data on the number of workforce vacancies in its early education programs, the issue is well known among those in the field. For example, in the County of San Mateo alone, the projected shortage of ECE teachers will be 2,500 by 2025, resulting in an additional gap of 14,000 ECE spaces for young children. Using available data, it is estimated that the total shortage of ECE care providers is over 90,000.
(2) This shortage is driven by unlivable wages. The majority of the ECE workforce lives in poverty, according to the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at University of California, Berkeley. In 2018, 58 percent of California’s childcare workforce participated in one or more public income support programs. As a result, turnover rates for early childhood educators in recent years have exceeded 50 percent. This is particularly acute in high-cost-of-living areas, where up to one-third of the workforce has recently relocated to more affordable communities.
(3) High staff turnover negatively affects children. Disruptions in the child-caregiver relationship can activate a child’s stress-response system, adversely impacting the child’s development. Staff stability in center-based ECE settings is linked to program quality, including children’s social and verbal development.
(4) Investing in the ECE workforce through continued education increases the quality of California’s ECE system.
(A) Studies consistently show that more formal training in ECE leads to higher quality childcare. In fact, the quality of instruction is the most significant driver of child outcomes in the early years.
(B) Increased wages can stabilize the ECE workforce, and employer wage scales typically reward professional development.
(c) California must provide accessible, affordable professional development opportunities and pathways into the ECE workforce. This bill would remove the financial barriers and long-term economic burdens for individuals entering an essential public service field.
(1) As it stands, tuition for ECE courses is cost prohibitive for many prospective and current early learning educators.
(A) According to a recent study, early educators reported that the biggest barrier to professional development was the cost of tuition or training expenses. The average annual cost of tuition at community colleges in California is $6,042, which is 25 percent of the median annual wage of $24,150 for ECE professionals in the state.
(B) Nearly one-third of participants in a recent ECE community college course reported household incomes of $25,000 or less and identified the program’s free tuition as the most important factor in facilitating their enrollment.
(C) Especially in high-cost-of-living areas where the ECE workforce shortage is acute, early childhood educators are unable to pursue college as full-time students, which is a requirement to access existing financial aid programs.
(D) For workers entering the field of ECE, the tendency for existing financial aid programs to leave students with debt is particularly problematic.
(E) The majority of ECE students come from underserved populations that are at higher risk of failing to navigate financial aid resources. Of California’s center-based ECE workforce, one-half are English language learners, over 50 percent live in poverty, and 55 percent are people of color.
(2) Widening the pathway to a high-quality ECE system is critical to leverage the Governor’s $2.4 billion investment in California’s youngest children.

SEC. 2.

 Section 76300 of the Education Code is amended to read:

76300.
 (a) The governing board of each community college district shall charge each student a fee pursuant to this section.
(b) (1) The fee prescribed by this section shall be forty-six dollars ($46) per unit per semester, effective with the summer term of the 2012 calendar year.
(2) The board of governors shall proportionately adjust the amount of the fee for term lengths based upon a quarter system, and also shall proportionately adjust the amount of the fee for summer sessions, intersessions, and other short-term courses. In making these adjustments, the board of governors may round the per unit fee and the per term or per session fee to the nearest dollar.
(c) For the purposes of computing apportionments to community college districts pursuant to Section 84750.4 or 84750.5, as applicable, the board of governors shall subtract, from the total revenue owed to each district, 98 percent of the revenues received by districts from charging a fee pursuant to this section.
(d) The board of governors shall reduce apportionments by up to 10 percent to any district that does not collect the fees prescribed by this section.
(e) The fee requirement does not apply to any of the following:
(1) Students enrolled in the noncredit courses designated by Section 84757.
(2) California State University or University of California students enrolled in remedial classes provided by a community college district on a campus of the University of California or a campus of the California State University, for whom the district claims an attendance apportionment pursuant to an agreement between the district and the California State University or the University of California.
(3) Students enrolled in credit contract education courses pursuant to Section 78021, if the entire cost of the course, including administrative costs, is paid by the public or private agency, corporation, or association with which the district is contracting and if these students are not included in the calculation of the full-time equivalent students (FTES) of that district.
(f) The governing board of a community college district may exempt special part-time students admitted pursuant to Section 76001 from the fee requirement.
(g) (1) The fee requirements of this section shall be waived for any student who meets all of the following requirements:
(A) Meets minimum academic and progress standards adopted by the board of governors, which fulfill the requirements outlined in this paragraph and paragraphs (2) to (5), inclusive. Any minimum academic and progress standards adopted pursuant to this section shall be uniform across all community college districts and campuses. These standards shall not include a maximum unit cap, and community college districts and colleges shall not impose requirements for fee waiver eligibility other than the minimum academic and progress standards adopted by the board of governors and the requirements of subparagraph (B).
(B) Meets one of the following criteria:
(i) At the time of enrollment, is a recipient of benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, the Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment Program, or a general assistance program.
(ii) Demonstrates eligibility according to income standards established by regulations of the board of governors.
(iii) Demonstrates financial need in accordance with the methodology set forth in federal law or regulation for determining the expected family contribution of students seeking financial aid.
(iv) At the time of enrollment, is a homeless youth or a former homeless youth as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 66025.9.
(2) (A) The board of governors, in consultation with students, faculty, and other key stakeholders, shall consider all of the following in the development and adoption of minimum academic and progress standards pursuant to subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1):
(i) Minimum uniform academic and progress standards that do not unfairly disadvantage financially needy students in pursuing their education.
(ii) Criteria for reviewing extenuating circumstances and granting appeals that, at a minimum, take into account and do not penalize a student for circumstances outside the student’s control, such as reductions in student support services or changes to the economic situation of the student.
(iii) A process for reestablishing fee waiver eligibility that provides a student with a reasonable opportunity to continue or resume the student’s enrollment at a community college.
(B) To ensure that students are not unfairly impacted by the requirements of subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1), the board of governors shall establish a reasonable implementation period that commences no sooner than one year from adoption of the minimum academic and progress standards, or any subsequent changes to these standards, pursuant to subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) and that is phased in to provide students adequate notification of this requirement and information about available support resources.
(3) It is the intent of the Legislature that minimum academic and progress standards adopted pursuant to subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) be implemented only as campuses develop and implement the student support services and interventions necessary to ensure no disproportionate impact to students based on ethnicity, gender, disability, or socioeconomic status. The board of governors shall consider the ability of community college districts to meet the requirements of this paragraph before adopting minimum academic and progress standards, or any subsequent changes to these standards, pursuant to subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1).
(4) It is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that a student shall not lose fee waiver eligibility without a community college campus first demonstrating a reasonable effort to provide a student with adequate notification and assistance in maintaining the student’s fee waiver eligibility. The board of governors shall adopt regulations to implement this paragraph that ensure all of the following:
(A) Students are provided information about the available student support services to assist them in maintaining fee waiver eligibility.
(B) Community college district policies and course catalogs reflect the minimum academic and progress standards adopted pursuant to subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) and that appropriate notice is provided to students before the policies are put into effect.
(C) A student does not lose fee waiver eligibility unless the student has not met minimum academic and progress standards adopted pursuant to subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) for a period of no less than two consecutive academic terms.
(5) The board of governors shall provide notification of a proposed action to adopt regulations pursuant to this subdivision to the appropriate policy and fiscal committees of the Legislature in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 70901.5. This notification shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:
(A) The proposed minimum academic and progress standards and information detailing how the requirements of paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, have been or will be satisfied.
(B) How many students may lose fee waiver eligibility by ethnicity, gender, disability, and, to the extent relevant data is available, by socioeconomic status.
(C) The criteria for reviewing extenuating circumstances, granting appeals, and reestablishing fee waiver eligibility pursuant to paragraph (2).
(h) The fee requirements of this section shall be waived for any student who, at the time of enrollment, is a dependent or surviving spouse who has not remarried, of any member of the California National Guard who, in the line of duty and while in the active service of the state, was killed, died of a disability resulting from an event that occurred while in the active service of the state, or is permanently disabled as a result of an event that occurred while in the active service of the state. “Active service of the state,” for the purposes of this subdivision, refers to a member of the California National Guard activated pursuant to Section 146 of the Military and Veterans Code.
(i) The fee requirements of this section shall be waived for any student who is the surviving spouse or the child, natural or adopted, of a deceased person who met all of the requirements of Section 68120.
(j) The fee requirements of this section shall be waived for any student in an undergraduate program, including a student who has previously graduated from another undergraduate or graduate program, who is the dependent of any individual killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon or the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 in southwestern Pennsylvania, if that dependent meets the financial need requirements set forth in Section 69432.7 for the Cal Grant A Program and either of the following applies:
(1) The dependent was a resident of California on September 11, 2001.
(2) The individual killed in the attacks was a resident of California on September 11, 2001.
(k) A determination of whether a person is a resident of California on September 11, 2001, for purposes of subdivision (j) shall be based on the criteria set forth in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 68000) of Part 41 of Division 5 for determining nonresident and resident tuition.
(l) (1) “Dependent,” for purposes of subdivision (j), is a person who, because of the person’s relationship to an individual killed as a result of injuries sustained during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, qualifies for compensation under the federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001 (Title IV (commencing with Section 401) of Public Law 107-42).
(2) A dependent who is the surviving spouse of an individual killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, is entitled to the waivers provided in this section until January 1, 2013.
(3) A dependent who is the surviving child, natural or adopted, of an individual killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, is entitled to the waivers under subdivision (j) until that person attains 30 years of age.
(4) A dependent of an individual killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, who is determined to be eligible by the California Victim Compensation Board, is also entitled to the waivers provided in this section until January 1, 2013.
(m) (1) The fee requirements of this section shall be waived for any course, described in paragraph (2), that a student is enrolled in, if the student has completed and submitted either a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or a California Dream Act application and has declared any of the following majors:
(A) Child Development.
(B) Child and Adolescent Development.
(C) Early Childhood Education.
(D) Early Childhood Studies.
(E) Child Studies.
(F) Child and Family Studies.
(G) Child and Family Education.
(H) Early Care.
(I) Education and Family Studies.
(J) Early Care and Education.
(K) Early Childhood Development.
(L) Child Development and Education.
(2) Pursuant to this subdivision, the courses eligible for fee waiver shall include any of the following:
(A) Child Growth and Development.
(B) Child, Family and Community.
(C) Introduction to Curriculum.
(D) Principles and Practices of Teaching Young Children.
(E) Observation and Assessment.
(F) Health, Safety, and Nutrition.
(G) Teaching in a Diverse Society.
(H) Practicum.
(3) The waiver established by this subdivision shall be known as, and may be referred to as, the Early Childhood Workforce Waiver.

(m)

(n) (1) It is the intent of the Legislature that sufficient funds be provided to support the provision of a fee waiver for every student who demonstrates eligibility pursuant to subdivisions (g) to (j), inclusive. inclusive, and subdivision (m).
(2) From funds provided in the annual Budget Act, the board of governors shall allocate to community college districts, pursuant to this subdivision, an amount equal to 2 percent of the fees waived pursuant to subdivisions (g) to (j), inclusive. inclusive, and subdivision (m). From funds provided in the annual Budget Act, the board of governors shall allocate to community college districts, pursuant to this subdivision, an amount equal to ninety-one cents ($0.91) per credit unit waived pursuant to subdivisions (g) to (j), inclusive. inclusive, and subdivision (m). It is the intent of the Legislature that funds provided pursuant to this subdivision be used to support the determination of financial need and delivery of student financial aid services, on the basis of the number of students for whom fees are waived. It also is the intent of the Legislature that the funds provided pursuant to this subdivision directly offset mandated costs claimed by community college districts pursuant to Commission on State Mandates consolidated Test Claims 99-TC-13 (Enrollment Fee Collection) and 00-TC-15 (Enrollment Fee Waivers). Funds allocated to a community college district for determination of financial need and delivery of student financial aid services shall supplement, and shall not supplant, the level of funds allocated for the administration of student financial aid programs during the 1992–93 fiscal year.

(n)

(o) The board of governors shall adopt regulations implementing this section.

SEC. 3.

 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.
SECTION 1.

It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to support part-time students who enroll in early childhood education or child development courses at the California Community Colleges by providing fee waivers for those courses.