A bill that would have extended Cal Grant funding died in committee on August 16 due to its associated costs. While Cal Grant currently applies to regular session classes in Fall, Winter, and Spring Quarter, the bill, AB 3153, would have added additional funding for summer classes.
Cal Grant is a financial aid grant through the state of California. California students automatically apply when they file their FAFSA or CADAA applications.
According to Scott Graves, Director of Research for the California Budget and Policy Center, using a bill to obtain funding is generally only successful when the money requested is a low amount. Because of the expenses associated with AB 3153, the Appropriations Committee decided not to move the bill out of the suspense file, which exists for bills that require more time for the committee to weigh costs relative to the funds available.
To garner support for AB 3153, the Coalition for a Better UC (CBUC), a young student advocacy organization, created a petition back in March and gained the support of the UC Students Association (UCSA).
“By 2030, California will have 1.1 million [fewer] college graduates than its workforce and economy will demand. This problem is compounded by the fact that four-year graduation rates of California colleges are dismal,” the petition states. “Increasing aid to students, especially aid that can be used to enroll in summer sessions, helps students graduate on time and with less debt.”
For students who supported AB 3153, Graves says there is still an alternative: CBUC can either ask the governor’s office to add the Cal Grant extension to their budget proposal or ask a budget committee member to add it to next year’s budget.
Thank you all for your commitment to the #ExtendCalGrant campaign. Though our bill did not make it out of suspense, it made it incredibly far because of all of you. And, because of all of you, we are not giving up here. Stayed tuned for more info. pic.twitter.com/M1RK2FniaQ
— Coalition For A Better UC (@CBUCMovement) August 22, 2018
CBUC Chair Kuvimbanashe Edwin Chikukwa believes that the bill made impressive progress in the six months he campaigned for it because it had support from the UC system, CSU system, and UC Regents.
“The University of California is disappointed that AB 3153 will not be moving forward,” said UCOP Media Relations Officer Danielle Smith. “We will continue to work closely with the legislature to ensure UC remains financially accessible for all eligible California students.”
Ethan Coston is an Assistant News Editor for The Triton. You can follow him @Ethan4Books