Today's Law As Amended

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AB-1617 Pupil instruction: high school graduation requirements: financial aid applications.(2019-2020)

As Amends the Law Today

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) California’s student financial aid application process is overly complex and burdensome to students and families.
(2) Many eligible students do not complete a financial aid form because they believe they are ineligible, have no information on how to apply, think that the forms are too much work, or do not want to share personal information because of deportation fears.
(3) While the financial aid system is intended to make college “access and affordability a guarantee to every qualified student,” California currently ranks 30th in the nation in application rates. As a result, California’s students leave, on average, five hundred fifty million dollars ($550,000,000) in federal and state financial aid on the table.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation, to be known as the Financial Aid Integration Act, that will accomplish all of the following:
(1) Allow California to maximize the number of its students who apply for and receive federal and state financial aid without creating an undue burden that prevents some students from graduating.
(2) Establish a coordinated completion campaign for all existing statewide efforts to increase financial aid application completion rates, which include, but are not limited to, all of the following: the California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP), the 2019–20 “Race to Submit,” Assembly Bill 2015 (Chapter 533 of the Statutes of 2018) implementation, the Cash for College Program workshops, automatic grade point average (GPA) verification for all grade 12 pupils, Assembly Bill 2160 (Chapter 679 of the Statutes of 2014), and outreach to increase enrollment in the California College Promise Innovation Grant Program.
(3) Give local educational agencies discretion on how to coordinate and assist families and students in the completion of financial aid applications.
(4) Give students the freedom to choose the pathway that is best for them after high school, whether that be postsecondary education or pursuing an occupational or technical program.
(5) Help California close the 1,100,000 degree gap so that California has the skilled workers necessary to be competitive in today’s and tomorrow’s economy.

SEC. 2.

 Section 51225.7 is added to the Education Code, to read:

 (a) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) “Pupil” means a pupil in grade 12 attending a high school maintained by a local educational agency.
(2) “Local educational agency” means a school district, county office of education, or charter school.
(b) Commencing with the 2024–25 school year, and as a condition for granting a pupil a diploma of graduation from high school, the governing body of a local educational agency shall ensure both of the following:
(1) That a pupil not subject to paragraph (2) who has not opted out pursuant to subdivision (c) completes and submits to the United States Department of Education a Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
(2) That a pupil who has not opted out pursuant to subdivision (c) and is exempt from paying nonresident tuition pursuant to Section 68130.5, completes and submits to the Student Aid Commission a form established pursuant to Section 69508.5 for purposes of the California Dream Act.
(c) The parent or legal guardian of the pupil, or the pupil if the pupil is a legally emancipated minor or 18 years of age or older, may opt out of the requirements of this section by submitting a written request to the local educational agency.
(d) If the local educational agency determines that a pupil is unable to complete a requirement of this section due to extenuating circumstances, the agency shall exempt the pupil from the requirement and grant the pupil a high school diploma if the pupil has met all other graduation requirements and the principal attests that the local educational agency has made a good faith effort to assist the pupil or, if applicable, the pupil’s parent or legal guardian in filing an application or a waiver under subdivision (c).
(e) The governing body of the local educational agency shall ensure both of the following:
(1) The local educational agency provides to each high school pupil and, if applicable, the pupil’s parent or legal guardian any support and assistance necessary to comply with the requirement.
(2) Information shared by parents, legal guardians, and pupils under this section is handled according to applicable state and federal privacy laws and regulations.
(f) Except as otherwise specified in this section, the governing body of the local educational agency shall have complete discretion on how to implement 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.