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AB-1590 Student financial aid: Cal Grant Program.(2013-2014)



Current Version: 09/27/14 - Chaptered         Compare Versions information image


AB1590:v95#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 1590
CHAPTER 667

An act to amend Section 69432.7 of the Education Code, relating to student financial aid.

[ Approved by Governor  September 27, 2014. Filed with Secretary of State  September 27, 2014. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1590, Wieckowski. Student financial aid: Cal Grant Program.
Existing law, the Ortiz-Pacheco-Poochigian-Vasconcellos Cal Grant Program (Cal Grant Program), establishes the Cal Grant A and B Entitlement Awards, the California Community College Transfer Entitlement Awards, the Competitive Cal Grant A and B Awards, the Cal Grant C Awards, and the Cal Grant T Awards under the administration of the Student Aid Commission, and establishes eligibility requirements for awards under these programs for participating students attending qualifying institutions, as defined. The existing definition of a qualifying institution includes, among other institutions, California private or independent postsecondary educational institutions that participate in the Pell Grant Program and in at least 2 of the following federal campus-based programs: federal Work-Study, the Perkins Loan Program, and the Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant Program.
Existing law requires the commission to certify by October 1 of each year a qualifying institution’s latest 3-year cohort default rate and graduation rate as most recently reported by the United States Department of Education.
This bill would express findings and declarations, would delete “campus-based” from the description of the federal programs referenced above in connection with the California private or independent postsecondary educational institutions that are defined as qualifying institutions, and would replace the Perkins Loan Program with the Stafford Loan Program for purposes of qualifying a private or independent postsecondary educational institution for Cal Grants Awards. The bill would change the date the commission needs to certify the institution’s latest official 3-year cohort default rate and graduation rate to November 1, and would define the graduation rate of a qualifying institution to be the percentage of full-time, first-time degree- or certificate-seeking undergraduate students who graduate in 150% or less of the expected time to complete the degree requirements as most recently reported by the United States Department of Education. The bill would also delete obsolete provisions and make conforming and nonsubstantive changes.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The Budget Act of 2011 and the Budget Act of 2012 made significant statutory changes to the Cal Grant Program, refining institutional eligibility based on cohort default rates and graduation rates, which measure institutional quality.
(b) College institutions with a substantial proportion of students taking out federal student loans and with a high percentage of those borrowers defaulting on the student loans no longer qualify to participate in the Cal Grant Program. The Budget Act of 2012 further tightened the loan default limit, and added a minimum graduation rate that institutions must satisfy to remain eligible to participate in the Cal Grant Program.
(c) Due to a lack of clarity, there is confusion about the implementation by the Student Aid Commission of these statutory changes.
(d) On January 7, 2013, the Legislative Analyst’s Office issued a report entitled, “An Analysis of New Cal Grant Eligibility Rules,” which analyzed the new eligibility rules and offered several findings and recommendations for clarifying existing statute.
(e) Clarifying these provisions going forward will avoid further confusion and ensure consistency in the administration of the Cal Grant Program.

SEC. 2.

 Section 69432.7 of the Education Code, as amended by Section 2 of Chapter 34 of the Statutes of 2014, is amended to read:

69432.7.
 As used in this chapter, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) An “academic year” is July 1 to June 30, inclusive. The starting date of a session shall determine the academic year in which it is included.
(b) “Access costs” means living expenses and expenses for transportation, supplies, and books.
(c) “Award year” means one academic year, or the equivalent, of attendance at a qualifying institution.
(d) “College grade point average” and “community college grade point average” mean a grade point average calculated on the basis of all college work completed, except for nontransferable units and courses not counted in the computation for admission to a California public institution of higher education that grants a baccalaureate degree.
(e) “Commission” means the Student Aid Commission.
(f) “Enrollment status” means part- or full-time status.
(1) “Part time,” for purposes of Cal Grant eligibility, means 6 to 11 semester units, inclusive, or the equivalent.
(2) “Full time,” for purposes of Cal Grant eligibility, means 12 or more semester units or the equivalent.
(g) “Expected family contribution,” with respect to an applicant, shall be determined using the federal methodology pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 69506 (as established by Title IV of the federal Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1070 et seq.)) and applicable rules and regulations adopted by the commission.
(h) “High school grade point average” means a grade point average calculated on a 4.0 scale, using all academic coursework, for the sophomore year, the summer following the sophomore year, the junior year, and the summer following the junior year, excluding physical education, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), and remedial courses, and computed pursuant to regulations of the commission. However, for high school graduates who apply after their senior year, “high school grade point average” includes senior year coursework.
(i) “Instructional program of not less than one academic year” means a program of study that results in the award of an associate or baccalaureate degree or certificate requiring at least 24 semester units or the equivalent, or that results in eligibility for transfer from a community college to a baccalaureate degree program.
(j) “Instructional program of not less than two academic years” means a program of study that results in the award of an associate or baccalaureate degree requiring at least 48 semester units or the equivalent, or that results in eligibility for transfer from a community college to a baccalaureate degree program.
(k) (1) “Maximum household income and asset levels” means the applicable household income and household asset levels for participants, including new applicants and renewing recipients, in the Cal Grant Program, as defined and adopted in regulations by the commission for the 2001–02 academic year, which shall be set pursuant to the following income and asset ceiling amounts:

CAL GRANT PROGRAM INCOME CEILINGS
Cal Grant A,
C, and T
Cal Grant B
Dependent and Independent students with dependents*
Family Size
 
 
Six or more
$74,100 
$40,700 
Five
$68,700 
$37,700 
Four
$64,100 
$33,700 
Three
$59,000 
$30,300 
Two
$57,600 
$26,900 

Independent

 
 
Single, no dependents
$23,500 
$23,500 
Married
$26,900 
$26,900 
*Applies to independent students with dependents other than a
spouse.
CAL GRANT PROGRAM ASSET CEILINGS
Cal Grant A,
C, and T
Cal Grant B

Dependent** _____ _____

$49,600 

$49,600 
Independent _____ _____
$23,600 
$23,600 
**Applies to independent students with dependents other than a
spouse.
 
(2) The commission shall annually adjust the maximum household income and asset levels based on the percentage change in the cost of living within the meaning of paragraph (1) of subdivision (e) of Section 8 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution. The maximum household income and asset levels applicable to a renewing recipient shall be the greater of the adjusted maximum household income and asset levels or the maximum household income and asset levels at the time of the renewing recipient’s initial Cal Grant award. For a recipient who was initially awarded a Cal Grant for an academic year before the 2011–12 academic year, the maximum household income and asset levels shall be the greater of the adjusted maximum household income and asset levels or the 2010–11 academic year maximum household income and asset levels. An applicant or renewal recipient who qualifies to be considered under the simplified needs test established by federal law for student assistance shall be presumed to meet the asset level test under this section. Before disbursing any Cal Grant funds, a qualifying institution shall be obligated, under the terms of its institutional participation agreement with the commission, to resolve any conflicts that may exist in the data the institution possesses relating to that individual.
(l) (1) “Qualifying institution” means an institution that complies with paragraphs (2) and (3) and is any of the following:
(A) A California private or independent postsecondary educational institution that participates in the Pell Grant Program and in at least two of the following federal student aid programs:
(i) Federal Work-Study Program.
(ii) Federal Stafford Loan Program.
(iii) Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program.
(B) A nonprofit institution headquartered and operating in California that certifies to the commission that 10 percent of the institution’s operating budget, as demonstrated in an audited financial statement, is expended for purposes of institutionally funded student financial aid in the form of grants, that demonstrates to the commission that it has the administrative capacity to administer the funds, that is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and that meets any other state-required criteria adopted by regulation by the commission in consultation with the Department of Finance. A regionally accredited institution that was deemed qualified by the commission to participate in the Cal Grant Program for the 2000–01 academic year shall retain its eligibility as long as it maintains its existing accreditation status.
(C) A California public postsecondary educational institution.
(2) (A) The institution shall provide information on where to access California license examination passage rates for the most recent available year from graduates of its undergraduate programs leading to employment for which passage of a California licensing examination is required, if that data is electronically available through the Internet Web site of a California licensing or regulatory agency. For purposes of this paragraph, “provide” may exclusively include placement of an Internet Web site address labeled as an access point for the data on the passage rates of recent program graduates on the Internet Web site where enrollment information is also located, on an Internet Web site that provides centralized admissions information for postsecondary educational systems with multiple campuses, or on applications for enrollment or other program information distributed to prospective students.
(B) The institution shall be responsible for certifying to the commission compliance with the requirements of subparagraph (A).
(3) (A) The commission shall certify by November 1 of each year the institution’s latest official three-year cohort default rate and graduation rate as most recently reported by the United States Department of Education. For purposes of this section, the graduation rate is the percentage of full-time, first-time degree or certificate-seeking undergraduate students who graduate in 150 percent or less of the expected time to complete degree requirements as most recently reported publicly in any format, including preliminary data records, by the United States Department of Education.
(B) For purposes of the 2011–12 academic year, an otherwise qualifying institution with a three-year cohort default rate reported by the United States Department of Education that is equal to or greater than 24.6 percent shall be ineligible for initial and renewal Cal Grant awards at the institution.
(C) For purposes of the 2012–13 academic year, and every academic year thereafter, an otherwise qualifying institution with a three-year cohort default rate that is equal to or greater than 15.5 percent, as certified by the commission on October 1, 2011, and every year thereafter, shall be ineligible for initial and renewal Cal Grant awards at the institution.
(D) (i) An otherwise qualifying institution that becomes ineligible under this paragraph for initial and renewal Cal Grant awards shall regain its eligibility for the academic year for which it satisfies the requirements established in subparagraph (B), (C), or (F), as applicable.
(ii) If the United States Department of Education corrects or revises an institution’s three-year cohort default rate or graduation rate that originally failed to satisfy the requirements established in subparagraph (B), (C), or (F), as applicable, and the correction or revision results in the institution’s three-year cohort default rate or graduation rate satisfying those requirements, that institution shall immediately regain its eligibility for the academic year to which the corrected or revised three-year cohort default rate or graduation rate would have been applied.
(E) An otherwise qualifying institution for which no three-year cohort default rate or graduation rate has been reported by the United States Department of Education shall be provisionally eligible to participate in the Cal Grant Program until a three-year cohort default rate or graduation rate has been reported for the institution by the United States Department of Education.
(F) For purposes of the 2012–13 academic year, and every academic year thereafter, an otherwise qualifying institution with a graduation rate of 30 percent or less, as certified by the commission pursuant to subparagraph (A), shall be ineligible for initial and renewal Cal Grant awards at the institution, except as provided for in subparagraph (H).
(G) Notwithstanding any other law, the requirements of this paragraph shall not apply to institutions with 40 percent or less of undergraduate students borrowing federal student loans, using information reported to the United States Department of Education for the academic year two years before the academic year in which the commission is certifying the three-year cohort default rate or graduation rate pursuant to subparagraph (A).
(H) Notwithstanding subparagraph (F), an otherwise qualifying institution that maintains a three-year cohort default rate that is less than 15.5 percent and a graduation rate above 20 percent for students taking 150 percent or less of the expected time to complete degree requirements, as certified by the commission pursuant to subparagraph (A), shall be eligible for initial and renewal Cal Grant awards at the institution through the 2016–17 academic year.
(I) The commission shall do all of the following:
(i) Notify initial Cal Grant recipients seeking to attend, or attending, an institution that is ineligible for initial and renewal Cal Grant awards under subparagraph (C) or (F) that the institution is ineligible for initial Cal Grant awards for the academic year for which the student received an initial Cal Grant award.
(ii) Notify renewal Cal Grant recipients attending an institution that is ineligible for initial and renewal Cal Grant awards at the institution under subparagraph (C) or (F) that the student’s Cal Grant award will be reduced by 20 percent, or eliminated, as appropriate, if the student attends the ineligible institution in an academic year in which the institution is ineligible.
(iii) Provide initial and renewal Cal Grant recipients seeking to attend, or attending, an institution that is ineligible for initial and renewal Cal Grant awards at the institution under subparagraph (C) or (F) with a complete list of all California postsecondary educational institutions at which the student would be eligible to receive an unreduced Cal Grant award.
(m) “Satisfactory academic progress” means those criteria required by applicable federal standards published in Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The commission may adopt regulations defining “satisfactory academic progress” in a manner that is consistent with those federal standards.