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AB-2015 Pupil instruction: information about completion of applications for student financial aid.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 05/01/2018 09:00 PM
AB2015:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 01, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2015


Introduced by Assembly Member Reyes

February 05, 2018


An act to add Section 51225.8 to the Education Code, relating to pupil instruction.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2015, as amended, Reyes. Pupil instruction: economics: information about completion of applications for student financial aid.

Existing law requires each pupil completing grade 12 to satisfy certain requirements as a condition of receiving a diploma of graduation from high school. These requirements include the completion of designated coursework in grades 9 to 12, inclusive, including at least 3 courses in social studies, one of which is to be a one-semester course in economics. Existing law authorizes a governing board of a school district to adopt other coursework requirements.

(1) Existing law establishes a system of public elementary and secondary schools pursuant to which local educational agencies, including school districts and charter schools throughout the state, provide instruction to pupils in kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive.
This bill would require, commencing with the 2019–20 2020–21 school year, the governing board of a school district or and the governing body of a charter school that offers a course in economics that is limited to grade 12 pupils to include instruction, as part of that course, in the proper completion of student financial aid applications, including school, as appropriate, to ensure that each of its pupils receives information on how to properly complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and or the California Dream Act Application. The bill would require the State Department of Education, before the commencement of the 2019–20 school year, to provide guidance on how to implement these provisions, including, but not necessarily limited to, who may provide instruction. The bill would provide that individuals who are authorized to provide instruction pursuant to the bill include teachers, counselors, and any other person determined by the department to possess appropriate expertise relating to the FAFSA and the California Dream Act Application. Application, as appropriate, at least once before the pupil enters grade 12. The bill would provide that the manner in which information is provided pursuant to the bill would be at the discretion of the governing board of the school district or the governing body of the charter school, as appropriate. The bill would specify several types of material that would be required to be provided under the bill. The bill would require that a paper copy of the FAFSA or the California Dream Act Application be provided to a pupil upon the request of that pupil or upon request of a parent or guardian of that pupil. The bill would also require the governing boards of school districts and the governing bodies of charter schools to ensure that any information shared by parents, guardians, and pupils pursuant to the bill is handled according to applicable state and federal privacy laws and regulations.

The bill would provide that a local agency, entity of state or local government, or other public or private organization that sponsors, authorizes, supports, finances, or supervises, and a public employee who provides or facilitates, the instruction of pupils in the proper completion of student financial aid applications pursuant to the bill shall not be liable for any civil damages alleged to result from the acts or omissions of an individual who received such instruction, except as provided.

Because the bill would impose new duties on school districts and charter schools, it would constitute a state-mandated local program.
(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 the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NOYES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 51225.8 is added to the Education Code, to read:

51225.8.
 (a) Commencing with the 2020–21 school year, the governing board of a school district and the governing body of a charter school, as appropriate, shall ensure that each of its pupils receives information on how to properly complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application, as appropriate, at least once before the pupil enters grade 12. The manner in which information is provided pursuant to this section shall be at the discretion of the governing board of the school district or the governing body of the charter school, as appropriate, and may include, but not necessarily be limited to, information dissemination through in-class instruction, an existing program, family information sessions, or group or individual sessions with school counselors. The information provided shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, material related to all of the following:
(1) The types of documentation and personal information that each student financial aid application requires, including, but not necessarily limited to, documents relating to income taxes, finances and income, immigration status, college choices, academic status, and personal identification such as social security or taxpayer identification numbers.
(2) An explanation of definitions used for each application. These definitions may include, but are not necessarily limited to, definitions of “legal guardianship,” “household size,” “parent,” “dependent,” and “taxable college grants and scholarships.”
(3) Eligibility requirements for student financial aid that may be applied for using the FAFSA or the California Dream Act Application.
(4) Application timelines and submission deadlines.
(5) The importance of submitting applications early, especially when student financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
(b) The governing board of a school district and the governing body of a charter school shall ensure that a paper copy of the FAFSA or the California Dream Act Application is provided to each pupil, upon request by that pupil or upon request of a parent or guardian of that pupil.
(c) The governing board of a school district and the governing body of a charter school shall ensure that any information shared by parents, guardians, and pupils under this section is handled according to applicable state and federal privacy laws and regulations.

SEC. 2.

 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.Section 51225.8 is added to the Education Code, to read:
51225.8.

(a)If the governing board of a school district or the governing body of a charter school offers a course in economics that is limited to grade 12 pupils, the governing board of the school district or the governing body of a charter school shall include, commencing with the 2019–20 school year, instruction, as part of that course, in the completion of student financial aid applications. This instruction shall include an instructional program about how to properly complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or a California Dream Act Application.

(b)Before the commencement of the 2019–20 school year, the department shall provide guidance on how to implement this section, including, but not necessarily limited to, guidance about who may provide instruction pursuant to this section. Individuals who are authorized to provide instruction pursuant to this section include teachers, counselors, and any other person determined by the department to possess appropriate expertise relating to the FAFSA and the California Dream Act Application.

(c)The governing board of a school district or the governing body of a charter school may adopt policies to implement this section.

(d)The governing board of a school district or the governing body of a charter school providing instruction in the proper completion of student financial aid applications pursuant to this section is encouraged to use the most cost-effective means possible to implement that requirement.

(e)(1)A local agency, entity of state or local government, or other public or private organization that sponsors, authorizes, supports, finances, or supervises the instruction of pupils in the proper completion of student financial aid applications pursuant to this section shall not be liable for any civil damages alleged to result from the acts or omissions of an individual who received this instruction.

(2)A public employee who provides or facilitates the instruction of pupils in the proper completion of student financial aid applications pursuant to this section shall not be liable for any civil damages alleged to result from the acts or omissions of an individual who received this instruction.

(3)This subdivision shall not be construed to grant immunity from civil damages to any person who provides or facilitates the instruction of pupils in the proper completion of student financial aid applications in a manner that constitutes gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.