BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                      AB 27


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          Date of Hearing:  March 25, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair


          AB  
          27 (Chávez) - As Amended March 4, 2015


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          |Policy       |Higher Education               |Vote:|13 - 0       |
          |Committee:   |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
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          |-------------+-------------------------------+-----+-------------|
          |             |Veterans Affairs               |     |9 - 0        |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |-------------+-------------------------------+-----+-------------|
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
          |             |                               |     |             |
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          Urgency:  Yes State Mandated Local Program:  NoReimbursable:   
          Yes


          SUMMARY:


          This bill requires the state's public postsecondary educational  
          institutions to exempt qualifying nonresident veterans from  
          nonresident tuition and fee charges, in conformance with federal  








                                                                      AB 27


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          law. Specifically, this bill:





          Requires the California Community Colleges (CCC) and the  
          California State University (CSU), and requests the University  
          of California (UC), by July 1, 2015, to adopt tuition policies  
          ensuring participation of eligible veterans and their dependents  
          in GI Bill education benefits and providing conformity with the  
          federal Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014  
          ("Choice Act").





          FISCAL EFFECT:


          According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), any  
          postsecondary institution lacking conformity with the Choice Act  
          by July1, 2015 will be ineligible for payment of any GI Bill  
          benefits, including those associated with resident veterans. To  
          illustrate the potential loss of this federal revenue to the  
          segments for failing to conform with the federal law, according  
          to information provided by the California Department of Veterans  
          Affairs (Cal-Vet), in 2013-14, the CCC received $16.7 million in  
          payments, for 27,704 student veterans, under the Post-9/11 GI  
          Bill. Similarly, CSU received $26.1 million (for 6,255 students)  
          and UC received $25.2 million (for 1,936 students). There would  
          be additional, but much smaller revenue losses associated with  
          students participating in other GI Bill programs.













                                                                      AB 27


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          COMMENTS:


          1)Background and Purpose. The VA administers the GI Bill to  
            provide education and training benefits to eligible veterans  
            and their eligible dependents. The G.I. Bill provides for  
            in-state tuition and fees at public institutions. The federal  
            Choice Act (2014), in part requires public institutions to  
            provide in-state tuition regardless of the residency status of  
            specified veterans and their eligible dependents in order for  
            the institution to remain eligible to receive GI Bill  
            education payments.



            In response to the enactment of the Choice Act, AB 13  
            (Conway)/Chapter 639 of 2014, required the state's segments of  
            higher education 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 Choice Act. The Choice Act in essence  
            requires that public institutions either comply with the  
            nonresident tuition/fee waiver or discontinue participation in  
            the GI Bill educational benefits programs. Since AB 13 did not  
            explicitly require policies to ensure continued participation  
            in GI Bill educational benefit programs, a segment could  
            arguably conform to AB 13 through discontinuing participation  
            in the federal program. Though such an outcome is extremely  
            unlikely, AB 27 provides clarification that the segments'  
            policies are to ensure continued participation of both  
            resident and non-resident veterans who are eligible for GI  
            Bill benefits. Given the pending July 1, 2015 deadline for  
            conformity, AB 27 is an urgency measure.





          2)Segment Actions. The UC Regents were scheduled to consider an  








                                                                      AB 27


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            action to adopt a policy conforming to the Choice Act and  
            consistent with AB 27 at their March meeting. Though it  
            intends to comply with the Choice Act, CSU has not yet  
            outlined a plan to achieve compliance. The CCC maintains that  
            it requires a statutory change in order to implement the  
            Choice Act requirements.



          3)Related Legislation. AB 13 (Chavez), also on today's committee  
            agenda, exempts from CCC non-resident student fees those  
            veterans covered under the Choice Act, and authorizes  
            community colleges to claim state apportionment funding for  
            these students.
          


          Analysis Prepared by:Chuck Nicol / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081