Today's Law As Amended

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AB-1721 Student financial aid: Cal Grant Program.(2015-2016)

As Amends the Law Today

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) To remain economically competitive, California will need to produce 11,900,000 degrees and credentials by 2025, but the state is only estimated to produce 9,500,000, which would create a degree and credential attainment gap of 2,400,000 by 2025.
(2) California’s community colleges have strong transfer preparation and career technical education missions and are well positioned to close this impending gap.
(3) Overall, only 32 percent of students at California colleges complete credentials on time, and low-income students are much less likely than higher income students to enroll in or complete college.
(4) A major factor in a student’s enrollment and success in college is his or her ability to pay for fees and tuition, textbooks, transportation, housing, food, and other access costs.
(5) California has made an important investment in need-based financial aid for California’s college students through the Cal Grant Program and the BOG Fee Waiver Program of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges.
(6) The Cal Grant Program awards more than two billion dollars ($2,000,000,000) annually, and it is the largest state grant program in the nation in terms of dollars awarded to students. The BOG Fee Waiver Program is more extensive than any other “free community college” plan in the nation, and it provides almost one-half of all students of the California Community Colleges, and more than 60 percent of full-time students of the California Community Colleges, with free tuition.
(7) Despite California’s strong commitment to financial aid, access grants for qualifying students are insufficient to cover nontuition college costs, and many low-income students are left out of the program entirely.
(8) Students at California’s community colleges are disproportionately more likely to be the first in their family to attend college, come from an immigrant background, or be financially needy.
(9) After taking into account the total cost of attendance and all federal, state, and institutional financial aid available for students, on average it is more expensive for a needy student to go to a California community college than to attend the University of California or the California State University.
(10) The affordability challenge faced by California’s community college students stems from nontuition costs, and the solution to that challenge is to increase grant aid that covers nontuition costs.
(11) The 1960 California Master Plan for Higher Education in California guarantees an affordable, high-quality education to every Californian who can benefit.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to renew California’s commitment to college affordability by increasing the aid available to needy students, and, specifically, broadening access to financial aid to students enrolled in California community colleges.
(c) It is the intent of the Legislature that California community colleges provide outreach and education to students to inform them of the expanded availability of financial aid and to encourage students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid by the September 2 deadline.

SEC. 2.

 Section 69437 of the Education Code is amended to read:

 (a) Commencing with the 2001–02 academic year, and each academic year thereafter, there shall be established the Competitive Cal Grant A and B award program for students who did not receive a Cal Grant A or B entitlement award pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 69434), Article 3 (commencing with Section 69435), or Article 4 (commencing with Section 69436). Awards made under this section are not entitlements. The submission of an application by a student under this section shall not entitle that student to an award. The selection of students under this article shall be determined pursuant to subdivision (c) and other relevant criteria established by the commission.
(b)   Commencing with the 2021–22 2016–17  academic year, a total of 13,000  up to 34,000  Cal Grant A and B awards shall be granted annually under this article on a competitive basis for applicants who meet the general eligibility criteria established in Article 1 (commencing with Section 69430) and the priorities established by the commission pursuant to subdivision (c).
(1) The  Fifteen thousand of the  awards referenced in this subdivision are available to students who will be enrolled at an institution other than a  all students, including  California community college during the award year and  students,  who meet the financial need and academic requirements established pursuant to this article. A student enrolling at a qualifying baccalaureate degree granting institution  shall apply by the March 2 deadline. A California community college student is eligible to apply at the March 2 or the September 2 deadline. 
(2) Nineteen thousand of the awards referenced in this subdivision are reserved for students who will be enrolled at a California community college. The commission shall establish a second application deadline of September 2 for community college students to apply for these awards.
(2) (3)  If any awards are not distributed pursuant to paragraph paragraphs  (1) and (2)  upon initial allocation of the awards under this article, the commission shall make awards to as many eligible students as possible, beginning with the students with the lowest expected family contribution and highest academic merit, consistent with the criteria adopted by the commission pursuant to subdivision (c), as practicable without exceeding an annual cumulative total of 13,000 34,000  awards.
(c) (1) On or before February 1, 2001, acting pursuant to a public hearing process that is consistent with the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act (Article 9 (commencing with Section 11120) of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code), the commission shall establish selection criteria for Cal Grant A and B awards under the competitive program that give special consideration to disadvantaged students, taking into consideration those financial, educational, cultural, language, home, community, environmental, and other conditions that hamper a student’s access to, and ability to persist in, postsecondary education programs.
(2) Additional consideration shall be given to both of the following:
(A) Students pursuing Cal Grant B awards who reestablish their grade point averages.
(B) Students who did not receive awards pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 69434), Article 3 (commencing with Section 69435), or Article 4 (commencing with Section 69436).
(d) All other students who meet the eligibility requirements pursuant to Article 1 (commencing with Section 69430) are eligible to compete for an award pursuant to this article.