BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó

                                                                      AB 13

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          Date of Hearing:  March 10, 2015


                                    Irwin, Chair

                        13 (Chávez) - As Amended  March 4, 2015

          SUBJECT:  Public postsecondary education:  community colleges:   
          exemptions from nonresident tuition.

          SUMMARY:  Requires a California Community College (CCC) to  
          exempt from nonresident tuition a nonresident student who is a  
          covered individual as defined pursuant to section 702 of the  
          federal Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014,  
          Public Law 113-143, who is using, or intending to use GI Bill  
          education benefits while living in California and enrolled at a  
          community college.  This bill defines "GI Bill educational  
          benefits" to mean any educational benefit administered by the US  
          Department of Veterans Affairs pursuant to Title 38 of the  
          United States Code that is designed to help eligible veterans or  
          other eligible persons with a relationship to a veteran to cover  
          the costs associated with enrollment as a CCC student.  It  
          provides that these students may be reported as full-time  
          equivalent students for purposes of state apportionment. This  
          bill contains an urgency clause.


          1)Establishes uniform residency requirements for the purposes of  
            determining the amount of fees to be paid by students  


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            attending public institutions of higher education in  
            California and requires CCC districts, California State  
            University (CSU) and University of California (UC) to charge a  
            tuition fee to nonresident students; and, provides for  
            specified exceptions to residence determination for current  
            and former members of the Armed Forces meeting specified  

          2)Requires the CCC, CSU, and requests UC, (the higher education  
            "segments") to update and adopt policies no later than July 1,  
            2015, regarding tuition rates for eligible veterans and their  
            eligible dependents to ensure conformity to, and compliance  
            with, the federal Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability  
            Act of 2014 ("Choice Act", Public Law 113-143) and the  
            requirements of California law.    

          3)Exempts specified California nonresidents from paying  
            nonresident tuition if they attended a California high school  
            for three or more years (or equivalent), graduated from a  
            California high school (or equivalent degree), registered or  
            attended an accredited California higher education institution  
            not before the fall of the 2001-02 academic year, and filed an  
            affidavit, if without lawful immigration status, stating that  
            the student has filed an application to legalize their  
            immigration status or will file such an application as soon as  
            eligible to do so.

          4)Authorizes CCC districts to admit a nonresident student and  
            requires that these students be charged a nonresident tuition  
            fee, with certain specific exemptions, including nonresidents  
            who enroll for six or fewer units; any nonresident who is both  
            a citizen and resident of a foreign country, if the  
            nonresident has demonstrated a financial need for the  
            exemption; and, a special part-time student admitted pursuant  
            to California statutes governing concurrent enrollment of  
            elementary and secondary school pupils;

          5)Requires CCC districts to exempt from the nonresident fee a  
            nonresident student, under specified circumstances, a United  
            States citizen who moved abroad as a result of his/her  
            parent's deportation.  


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          Federal requirements.  The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs  
          (VA) administers the federal G.I. Bill to provide education and  
          training benefits to eligible veterans and their eligible  
          dependents.  The G.I. Bill specifically states that it will pay  
          all public school in-state tuition and fees.  On August 7, 2014,  
          President Obama signed the Choice Act.  Among the numerous  
          provisions, the law requires public institutions to provide  
          in-state tuition to specified veterans and eligible dependents  
          in order for the institution to remain eligible to receive G.I.  
          Bill education payments.  The following "covered individuals"  
          are eligible for in-state tuition under the Choice Act: 

          1)A veteran who lives in the state (regardless of formal  
            in-state residence status) in which the higher education  
            institution is located and enrolls within three years of  
            discharge from a period of active duty service of 90 days or  

          2)A spouse or child using transferred benefits who lives in the  
            state (regardless of formal in-state residence status) in  
            which the higher education institution is located and enrolls  
            within three years of the transferor's discharge from a period  
            of active duty service of 90 days or more.

          3)A spouse or child using benefits under the Marine Gunnery  
            Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship who lives in the state  
            (regardless of formal in-state residence status) in which the  
            higher education institution is located and enrolls within  
            three years of the servicemember's death in the line of duty  
            following a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.

          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown at this time.

          COMMENTS:  This bill is coming to the Veterans Affairs Committee  
          after first receiving a hearing in the Higher Education  
          Committee.  Rather than focus on the issues pertaining to the  
          Higher Education aspects of this bill, for those issues have  
          been expertly analyzed in the Higher Education analysis, this  
          analysis will narrow in focus to the Veterans Affairs aspects of  


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          this bill.  

          On signing the GI Bill in 1944, then President Franklin  
          Roosevelt said:

            This bill, which I have signed today? gives servicemen and  
            women the opportunity of resuming their education or technical  
            training after discharge, or of taking a refresher or  
            retrainer course, not only without tuition charge up to $500  
            per school year, but with the right to receive a monthly  
            living allowance while pursuing their studies?

            With the signing of this bill a well-rounded program of  
            special veterans' benefits is nearly completed. It gives  
            emphatic notice to the men and women in our armed forces that  
            the American people do not intend to let them down.

            ?This bill therefore and the former legislation provide the  
            special benefits which are due to the members of our armed  
            forces -- for they "have been compelled to make greater  
            economic sacrifice and every other kind of sacrifice than the  
            rest of us, and are entitled to definite action to help take  
            care of their special problems." While further study and  
            experience may suggest some changes and improvements, the  
            Congress is to be congratulated on the prompt action it has  
            taken. [Emphasis added.]

          These words ring true in 2015.  Not unlike in 1944 our country  
          has been in a protracted military conflict.  Many of the men and  
          women who have served in the armed forces interrupted their  
          civilian lives to serve and sacrifice for the country and are  
          now in transition back to civilian life. 

          Much has changed, however, since 1944.  We are for the most part  
          a nation of mobile people, most Americans own cars, and air and  
          rail travel is relatively accessible and affordable.  Air and  


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          rail travel are well-developed and sophisticated, it is quite  
          possible to fly from Sacramento, California to Sydney, Australia  
          in less than 24 hours.  We travel, we move, and often our  
          families are spread across the country.  The kind of work and  
          jobs, indeed some entire large industries, are very different  
          today than they were back then.  And, reviewing the $500 tuition  
          benefit in the GI Bill of 1944, the price of things has  
          certainly changed.  For example, estimated tuition and fees at  
          the University of California system for 2015-16 are $14,500 for  
          residents and $38,024 for non-residents.

          The GI Bill of today would pay, in the example above, the UC  
          resident amount, but not anything more than that for a  
          non-resident GI Bill student.  For many, this additional amount  
          is cost-prohibitive.  California has several state laws that  
          permit some non-resident GI Bill students to receive the  
          resident rate. The Choice Act takes the step of saying that, in  
          general, schools that wish to continue receiving any GI Bill  
          benefits must no longer charge any GI Bill student non-resident  
          tuition if that student enrolls within three years of discharge  
          from the armed forces.

          As stated by the Higher Education Committee analysis, "Arguably,  
          a segment could conform to ?[the Choice Act] through  
          discontinuing participation in the federal program.  Committee  
          staff understands, however, it is unlikely this approach would  
          be used to achieve compliance."   

          However, according to the author, CCC districts do not currently  
          have appropriate authority to reduce tuition for nonresident  
          veterans in compliance with federal law.  The author argues, if  
          CCC districts do not comply with the Choice Act, not only will  
          they be barred from accepting new students using GI Bill  
          educational benefits, but current students will lose their  
          federal GI Bill educational tuition assistance and housing  

          From the veterans affairs perspective, regardless of whether  
          there is disagreement or clarity about the state of the existing  


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          state law and whether this bill is legally essential for the CCC  
          to comply, the scenario contemplated by the author should be  
          avoided.  Unless we as a state intend to maintain our current  
          cost structure at the consequence of loss of GI Bill benefits  
          for current and future students, this bill does no harm and  
          resolves any risk that the CCC might want to comply but lack the  
          legal authority under California law to do so.

          Related legislation.  AB 27 (Chávez) would require CSU, and  
          request UC, exempt nonresident students using GI Bill education  
          benefits from paying nonresident tuition while enrolled as a  
          student of that segment.    




          American Federation of State, County, Municipal Employees,  
          American Legion- Department of California
          AMVETS, Department of California
          California Association of County Veterans Service Officers
          California Community College Chancellor's Office
          California Catholic Conference, Inc.
          Kern Community College District
          Los Rios Community College District
          Military Officers Association- California Council of Chapters
          Peralta Community College District
          Rural County Representatives of California
          San Diego Community College District
          Veterans of Foreign Wars- Department of California


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          Vietnam Veterans of America- California State Council
          Yosemite Community College District


          None on File. 

          Analysis Prepared  
          by:              John Spangler/V.A./(916) 319-3550