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SB-694 California Community Colleges: Veteran Resource Centers.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 04/06/2017 04:00 AM
SB694:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  April 05, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 694


Introduced by Senator Newman

February 17, 2017


An act to amend Section 66011 add Article 3 (commencing with Section 72630) to Chapter 6 of Part 45 of Division 7 of Title 3 of the Education Code, relating to postsecondary education.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 694, as amended, Newman. Postsecondary education: California Community Colleges. Colleges: Veteran Resource Centers.
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 establishes community college districts throughout the state, and authorizes them to operate campuses and provide instruction to students. Existing law authorizes the governing board of a community college district to provide a counseling program.
This bill would require the Chancellor’s Office of the California Community Colleges to ensure that each of its campuses provides a dedicated on-campus Veteran Resource Center that offers services to help student veterans transition successfully from military life to educational success through the core components of academics, wellness, and camaraderie and would require those Veteran Resource Centers, at a minimum, to be open for 25 hours a week, be staffed by veterans whenever possible, be 400 square feet and fully accessible, and provide enrolled student veterans with specified services. By imposing additional duties on community college districts, the bill would impose 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.

Existing law, the Donahoe Higher Education Act, among other things, declares the policy of the Legislature that all resident applicants to California institutions of public higher education, who are determined to be qualified by law or by admission standards established by the respective governing boards, should be admitted to a district of the California Community Colleges, the California State University, or the University of California.

This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to this provision relating to its references to the California Community Colleges and to community college districts and their governing boards.

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) California is home to the nation’s largest veteran population totaling over 1.8 million veterans.
(b) The number of California veterans will continue to grow by approximately 25,000 veterans annually as post-9/11 service members transition back into the civilian population.
(c) More than 90 percent of veterans who pursue a postservice educational path will attend one of California’s 113 community colleges, with 50 percent of those veteran students applying earned educational benefits toward their college educations.
(d) Approximately 70,000 veterans and active duty service members are currently enrolled at campuses of the California Community Colleges.
(e) Student veterans face unique challenges in achieving educational and professional success, including physical and emotional disabilities and assimilation to civilian life.
(f) There is currently no consistent baseline standard across the California community college system that assures a veteran of receiving sufficient support for their educational needs at the community college of their choice.

SEC. 2.

 Article 3 (commencing with Section 72630) is added to Chapter 6 of Part 45 of Division 7 of Title 3 of the Education Code, to read:
Article  3. Veteran Resource Centers

72630.
 (a) The Chancellor’s Office of the California Community Colleges shall ensure that each of its campuses provides a dedicated on-campus Veteran Resource Center that offers services to help student veterans transition successfully from military life to educational success through the core components of academics, wellness, and camaraderie.
(b) Each Veteran Resource Center shall at a minimum:
(1) Be open 25 hours a week.
(2) Be staffed by veterans whenever possible.
(3) Be 400 square feet and fully accessible.
(4) Provide enrolled veteran students with all of the following:
(A) Academic counseling and tutoring support.
(B) Peer support and mentoring services.
(C) Financial aid information and application assistance.
(D) Referral to on- and off-campus resources.
(E) Access to computers with printing, copying, and faxing capabilities.
(F) VA certifying officials.
(G) Career counseling and placement assistance.

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.Section 66011 of the Education Code is amended to read:
66011.

(a)It is the policy of the Legislature that all resident applicants to California institutions of public higher education, who are determined to be qualified by law or by admission standards established by the respective governing boards, should be admitted to either (1) a community college district, in accordance with Section 76000, (2) the California State University, or (3) the University of California.

(b)As used in this part, “governing boards” means the governing boards of community college districts and the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, the Trustees of the California State University, and the Regents of the University of California.