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Governor Newsom Opposes Revamp Of Cal Grant Program

cal grants.jpg
Flickr / Creative Commons
A student at the University of Pacific holds up a placard supporting Cal Grants.

Most of the students who would benefit under Assembly Bill 1456 are community college students. They would no longer need a minimum GPA to receive the awards. The bill also aims to simplify the Cal Grant program. Students would begin applying for grants under the new system in fall 2023 and begin receiving them in the 2024-25 academic year.

The bill has been praised by student leaders and financial aid advocates, but EdSource reports that the state's Department of Finance opposes the bill. Finance officials argue that implementing the changes in Cal Grants would cost too much, block aid for some students, and could motivate the state's four-year universities to hike tuition.

They’re also concerned that the bill could motivate CSU and UC to raise the cost of tuition. The bill restricts UC and CSU students to only use Cal Grants to pay for tuition and fees.

The current Cal Grant program has been criticized for being confusing to students. It features a number of grant types -—Cal Grant A, B and C. Some awards are guaranteed, while others are lottery-based.

Proponents estimate Assembly Bill 1456 would expand Cal Grant eligibility to up to roughly 200,000 more students. The Cal Grant is the state's main financial aid program.

Governor Newsom has until October 10 to decide whether to sign the bill.