Amended in Senate June 22, 2016

Amended in Assembly May 31, 2016

California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 1721


Introduced by Assembly Member Medina

(Coauthors: Assembly Members Chiu, Low, Rodriguez, Santiago, and Ting)

January 28, 2016


An act to amendbegin delete Sections 69437 and 69439end deletebegin insert Section 69437end insert of the Education Code, relating to student financial aid.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 1721, as amended, Medina. Student financial aid: Cal Grant Program.

(1) The Cal Grant Program establishes the Cal Grant A and B Entitlement awards, the California Community College Transfer Entitlement awards, the Competitive Cal Grant A and B awards, the Cal Grant C awards, and the Cal Grant T awards under the administration of the Student Aid Commission, and establishes eligibility requirements for awards under these programs for participating students attending qualifying institutions, as defined.

This bill would express the intent of the Legislature to renew California’s commitment to college affordability by increasing the aid available to needy students, and, specifically, broadening access to financial aid to students enrolled in California communitybegin delete college career technical education programs leading to industry valued credentials, through expanding the Cal Grant Program.end deletebegin insert colleges.end insert

(2) Under existing law, no more than a total of 25,750 Competitive Cal Grant A and B awards may be granted annually.

This bill, commencing with the 2016-17 academic year, would raise that limit to 34,000.begin delete The bill would, effective with the fall term or semester of the 2017-18 academic year, make students enrolled in occupational or technical training courses leading to industry valued credentials of no less than 4 months in length at a California community college eligible for Cal Grant B awards under an existing allocation reserved for community college students, notwithstanding an existing requirement that limits Cal Grant B awards to for-credit instructional programs that are not less than one academic year in length.end delete

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(3) Existing law requires a Cal Grant C award to be utilized only for occupational or technical training in a course of not less than 4 months. Existing law requires that there be the same number of Cal Grant C awards each year as were made in the 2000-01 fiscal year.

end delete
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This bill instead would require that there be the same number of Cal Grant C awards each year as were paid in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

end delete

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P2    1

SECTION 1.  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the
2following:

3(1) To remain economically competitive, California will need
4to produce 11,900,000 degrees and credentials by 2025, but the
5state is only estimated to produce 9,500,000, which would create
6a degree and credential attainment gap of 2,400,000 by 2025.

7(2) California’s community colleges have strong transfer
8preparation and career technical education missions and are well
9positioned to close this impending gap.

10(3) Overall, only 32 percent of students at California colleges
11complete credentials on time, and low-income students are much
12less likely than higher income students to enroll in or complete
13college.

14(4) A major factor in a student’s enrollment and success in
15college is his or her ability to pay for fees and tuition, textbooks,
16transportation, housing, food, and other access costs.

17(5) California has made an important investment in need-based
18financial aid for California’s college students through the Cal Grant
P3    1Program and the BOG Fee Waiver Program of the Board of
2Governors of the California Community Colleges.

3(6) The Cal Grant Program awards more than two billion dollars
4($2,000,000,000) annually, and it is the largest state grant program
5in the nation in terms of dollars awarded to students. The BOG
6Fee Waiver Program is more extensive than any other “free
7community college” plan in the nation, and it provides almost
8one-half of all students of the California Community Colleges,
9and more than 60 percent of full-time students of the California
10Community Colleges, with free tuition.

11(7) Despite California’s strong commitment to financial aid,
12access grants for qualifying students are insufficient to cover
13nontuition college costs, and many low-income students are left
14out of the program entirely.

15(8) Students at California’s community colleges are
16disproportionately more likely to be the first in their family to
17attend college, come from an immigrant background, or be
18financially needy.

19(9) After taking into account the total cost of attendance and all
20federal, state, and institutional financial aid available for students,
21on average it is more expensive for a needy student to go to a
22California community college than to attend the University of
23California or the California State University.

24(10) The affordability challenge faced by California’s
25community college students stems from nontuition costs, and the
26solution to that challenge is to increase grant aid that covers
27nontuition costs.

28(11) The 1960 California Master Plan for Higher Education in
29California guarantees an affordable, high-quality education to
30every Californian who can benefit.

31(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to renew California’s
32commitment to college affordability by increasing the aid available
33to needy students, and, specifically, broadening access to financial
34aid to students enrolled in California communitybegin delete college career
35technical education programs leading to industry valued credentials,
36through expanding the Cal Grant Program.end delete
begin insert colleges.end insert

37(c) It is the intent of the Legislature that California community
38colleges provide outreach and education to students to inform them
39of the expanded availability of financial aidbegin delete for students enrolled
40in career technical education programsend delete
and to encouragebegin delete theseend delete
P4    1 students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
2by the September 2 deadline.

3

SEC. 2.  

Section 69437 of the Education Code is amended to
4read:

5

69437.  

(a) Commencing with the 2001-02 academic year, and
6each academic year thereafter, there shall be established the
7Competitive Cal Grant A and B award program for students who
8did not receive a Cal Grant A or B entitlement award pursuant to
9Article 2 (commencing with Section 69434), Article 3
10(commencing with Section 69435), or Article 4 (commencing with
11Section 69436). Awards made under this section are not
12entitlements. The submission of an application by a student under
13this section shall not entitle that student to an award. The selection
14of students under this article shall be determined pursuant to
15subdivision (c) and other relevant criteria established by the
16commission.

17(b)  Commencing with the 2016-17 academic year, a total of
18up to 34,000 Cal Grant A and B awards shall be granted annually
19under this article on a competitive basis for applicants who meet
20the general eligibility criteria established in Article 1 (commencing
21with Section 69430) and the priorities established by the
22commission pursuant to subdivision (c).

23(1) Fifteen thousand of the awards referenced in this subdivision
24are available to all students, including California community
25college students, who meet the financial need and academic
26requirements established pursuant to this article. A student
27enrolling at a qualifying baccalaureate degree granting institution
28shall apply by the March 2 deadline. A California community
29college student is eligible to apply at the March 2 or the September
302 deadline.

31(2) Nineteen thousand of the awards referenced in this
32subdivision are reserved for students who will be enrolled at a
33California community college. The commission shall establish a
34second application deadline of September 2 for community college
35students to apply for these awards.begin delete Notwithstanding paragraph (1)
36of subdivision (a) of Section 69435, effective with the fall term or
37semester of the 2017-18 academic year, students enrolled in
38occupational or technical training courses leading to industry
39valued credentials of no less than four months in length at a
P5    1California community college shall be eligible for Cal Grant B
2awards issued under this paragraph.end delete

3(3) If any awards are not distributed pursuant to paragraphs (1)
4and (2) upon initial allocation of the awards under this article, the
5commission shall make awards to as many eligible students as
6possible, beginning with the students with the lowest expected
7family contribution and highest academic merit, consistent with
8the criteria adopted by the commission pursuant to subdivision
9(c), as practicable without exceeding an annual cumulative total
10of 34,000 awards.

11(c) (1) On or before February 1, 2001, acting pursuant to a
12public hearing process that is consistent with the Bagley-Keene
13Open Meeting Act (Article 9 (commencing with Section 11120)
14of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government
15Code), the commission shall establish selection criteria for Cal
16Grant A and B awards under the competitive program that give
17special consideration to disadvantaged students, taking into
18consideration those financial, educational, cultural, language,
19home, community, environmental, and other conditions that hamper
20a student’s access to, and ability to persist in, postsecondary
21education programs.

22(2) Additional consideration shall be given to both of the
23following:

24(A) Students pursuing Cal Grant B awards who reestablish their
25grade point averages.

26(B) Students who did not receive awards pursuant to Article 2
27(commencing with Section 69434), Article 3 (commencing with
28Section 69435), or Article 4 (commencing with Section 69436).

29(d) All other students who meet the eligibility requirements
30pursuant to Article 1 (commencing with Section 69430) are eligible
31to compete for an award pursuant to this article.

begin delete
32

SEC. 3.  

Section 69439 of the Education Code is amended to
33read:

34

69439.  

(a) For the purposes of this section, the following terms
35have the following meanings:

36(1) “Career pathway” has the same meaning as set forth in
37Section 88620.

38(2) “Economic security” has the same meaning as set forth in
39Section 14005 of the Unemployment Insurance Code.

P6    1(3) “Industry cluster” has the same meaning as set forth in
2Section 88620.

3(4) “Long-term unemployed” means, with respect to an award
4applicant, a person who has been unemployed for more than 26
5weeks at the time of submission to the commission of his or her
6application.

7(5) “Occupational or technical training” means that phase of
8education coming after the completion of a secondary school
9program and leading toward recognized occupational goals
10approved by the commission.

11(b) A Cal Grant C award shall be utilized only for occupational
12or technical training in a course of not less than four months. There
13shall be the same number of Cal Grant C awards each year as were
14paid in the 2015-16 fiscal year. The maximum award amount and
15the total amount of funding shall be determined each year in the
16annual Budget Act.

17(c) The commission may use criteria it deems appropriate in
18selecting students to receive grants for occupational or technical
19training and shall give special consideration to the social and
20economic situations of the students applying for these grants, giving
21additional weight to disadvantaged applicants, applicants who face
22economic hardship, and applicants who face particular barriers to
23employment. Criteria to be considered for these purposes shall
24include, but are not limited to, all of the following:

25(1) Family income and household size.

26(2) Student’s or the students’ parent’s household status,
27including whether the student is a single parent or child of a single
28parent.

29(3) The employment status of the applicant and whether the
30applicant is unemployed, giving greater weight to the long-term
31unemployed.

32(d) The Cal Grant C award recipients shall be eligible for
33renewal of their grants until they have completed their occupational
34or technical training in conformance with terms prescribed by the
35commission. A determination by the commission for a subsequent
36award year that the program under which a Cal Grant C award was
37initially awarded is no longer deemed to receive priority shall not
38affect an award recipient’s renewal. In no case shall the grants
39exceed two calendar years.

P7    1(e) Cal Grant C awards may be used for institutional fees,
2charges, and other costs, including tuition, plus training-related
3costs, such as special clothing, local transportation, required tools,
4equipment, supplies, books, and living expenses. In determining
5the individual award amounts, the commission shall take into
6account the financial means available to the student to fund his or
7her course of study and costs of attendance as well as other state
8and federal programs available to the applicant.

9(f) (1) To ensure alignment with the state’s dynamic economic
10needs, the commission, in consultation with appropriate state and
11federal agencies, including the Economic and Workforce
12Development Division of the Office of the Chancellor of the
13California Community Colleges and the California Workforce
14Investment Board, shall identify areas of occupational and technical
15training for which students may utilize Cal Grant C awards. The
16commission, to the extent feasible, shall also consult with
17representatives of the state’s leading competitive and emerging
18industry clusters, workforce professionals, and career technical
19educators, to determine which occupational training programs and
20industry clusters should be prioritized.

21(2) (A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the areas of
22occupational and technical training developed pursuant to
23paragraph (1) shall be regularly reviewed and updated at least
24every five years, beginning in 2012.

25(B) By January 1, 2016, the commission shall update the priority
26areas of occupational and technical training.

27(3) (A) The commission shall give priority in granting Cal
28Grant C awards to students pursuing occupational or technical
29training in areas that meet two of the following criteria pertaining
30to job quality:

31(i) High employer need or demand for the specific skills offered
32in the program.

33(ii) High employment growth in the occupational field or
34industry cluster for which the student is being trained.

35(iii) High employment salary and wage projections for workers
36employed in the occupations for which they are being trained.

37(iv) The occupation or training program is part of a
38well-articulated career pathway to a job providing economic
39security.

P8    1(B) To receive priority pursuant to subparagraph (A), at least
2one of the criteria met shall be specified in clause (iii) or (iv) of
3that subparagraph.

4(g) The commission shall determine areas of occupational or
5technical training that meet the criteria described in paragraph (3)
6of subdivision (f) in consultation with the Employment
7Development Department, the Economic and Workforce
8Development Division of the Office of the Chancellor of the
9California Community Colleges, and the California Workforce
10Investment Board using projections available through the Labor
11Market Information Data Library. The commission may supplement
12the analyses of the Employment Development Department’s Labor
13Market Information Data Library with the labor market analyses
14developed by the Economic and Workforce Development Division
15of the Office of the Chancellor of the California Community
16Colleges and the California Workforce Investment Board, as well
17as the projections of occupational shortages and skills gap
18developed by industry leaders. The commission shall publish, and
19retain, on its Internet Web site a current list of the areas of
20occupational or technical training that meet the criteria described
21in paragraph (3) of subdivision (f), and update this list as necessary.

22(h) Using the best available data, the commission shall examine
23the graduation rates and job placement data, or salary data, of
24eligible programs. Commencing with the 2014-15 academic year,
25the commission shall give priority to Cal Grant C award applicants
26seeking to enroll in programs that rate high in graduation rates and
27job placement data, or salary data.

28(i) (1) The commission shall consult with the Employment
29Development Department, the Office of the Chancellor of the
30California Community Colleges, the California Workforce
31Investment Board, and the local workforce investment boards to
32develop a plan to publicize the existence of the grant award
33program to California’s long-term unemployed to be used by those
34consulting agencies when they come in contact with members of
35the population who are likely to be experiencing long-term
36unemployment. The outreach plan shall use existing administrative
37and service delivery processes making use of existing points of
38contact with the long-term unemployed. The local workforce
39investment boards are required to participate only to the extent
40that the outreach efforts are a part of their existing responsibilities
P9    1under the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (Public Law
2105-220).

3(2) The commission shall consult with the Workforce Services
4Branch of the Employment Development Department, the Office
5of the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges, the
6California Workforce Investment Board, and the local workforce
7investment boards to develop a plan to make students receiving
8awards aware of job search and placement services available
9through the Employment Development Department and the local
10workforce investment boards. Outreach shall use existing
11administrative and service delivery processes making use of
12existing points of contact with the students. The local workforce
13investment boards are required to participate only to the extent
14that the outreach efforts are a part of their existing responsibilities
15under the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (Public Law
16105-220).

17(j) (1) Notwithstanding Section 10231.5 of the Government
18Code, the Legislative Analyst’s Office shall submit a report to the
19Legislature on the outcomes of the Cal Grant C program on or
20before April 1, 2015, and on or before April 1 of each
21odd-numbered year thereafter. This report shall include, but not
22necessarily be limited to, information on all of the following:

23(A) The age, gender, and segment of attendance for recipients
24in two prior award years.

25(B) The occupational and technical training program categories
26prioritized.

27(C) The number and percentage of students who received
28selection priority as defined in paragraph (3) of subdivision (f).

29(D) The extent to which recipients in these award years were
30successfully placed in jobs that meet local, regional, or state
31workforce needs.

32(2) For the report due on or before April 1, 2015, the Legislative
33Analyst’s Office shall include data for two additional prior award
34years and shall compare the mix of occupational and technical
35training programs and institutions in which Cal Grant C award
36recipients enrolled before and after implementation of subdivision
37(f).

P10   1(3) A report to be submitted pursuant to this subdivision shall
2be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government
3Code.

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