BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                              Senator Carol Liu, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:             SB 1357              
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          |Author:    |Block                                                |
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          |Version:   |March 29, 2016                          Hearing      |
          |           |Date:     April 13, 2016                             |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:     |Yes             |
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          |Consultant:|Kathleen Chavira                                     |
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          Subject:   Community colleges:   
          Ortiz-Pacheco-Poochigian-Vasconcellos Cal Grant 
                           Act: California Community Colleges Assistance  
          Grant Program


            SUMMARY
          
          This bill requires that the California Student Aid Commission  
          (CSAC) annually augment the award amount of Cal Grant B  
          recipients enrolled at the California Community Colleges by  
          $1,500, as specified, beginning with the 2017-18 award year and  
          requires a General Fund appropriation for this purpose in the  
          annual Budget Act. 

            BACKGROUND
          
          Current law authorizes the Cal Grant program, administered by  
          the CSAC, to provide grants to financially needy students to  
          attend college.  The program consists of the Cal Grant A, Cal  
          Grant B, and Cal Grant C programs, and eligibility is based upon  
          financial need, grade point average, California residency, and  
          other eligibility criteria, as specified in Education Code   
          69433.9. (Education Code  69430 -  69439)

          These programs currently operate as follows:

             1)   Cal Grant A* High School Entitlement Program provides  
               tuition fee funding for the equivalent of four full-time  
               years at qualifying postsecondary institutions to eligible  







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               lower and middle income high school graduates who have at  
               least a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) on a four-point scale  
               and apply within one year of graduation.

             2)   Cal Grant B* High School Entitlement Program provides  
               funds to eligible low-income high school graduates who have  
               at least a 2.0 GPA on a four-point scale and apply within  
               one year of graduation.  The award provides up to $1,551  
               (and provides for adjustment of this amount in the Annual  
               Budget Act) for books and living expenses for the first  
               year and each year following for up to four years (or  
               equivalent of four full-time years). After the first year,  
               the award also provides tuition fee funding at qualifying  
               postsecondary institutions.

             3)   Community College Transfer Program provides a Cal Grant  
               A or B to eligible high school graduates who have a  
               community college GPA of at least 2.4 on a four point scale  
               and transfer to a qualifying baccalaureate degree granting  
               college or university.

             4)   Cal Grant Competitive Award Program provides 22,500 Cal  
               Grant A and B awards available to applicants who meet  
               financial, academic, and general program eligibility  
               requirements.  Half of these awards are reserved for  
               students enrolled at a community college and who met the  
               September 2 application deadline.

             5)   Cal Grant C Program provides funding for financially  
               eligible lower-income students preparing for occupational  
               or technical training. The authorized number of new awards  
               is 7,761.  For new and renewal recipients, the current  
               tuition and fee award is up to $2,592 and the allowance for  
               training-related costs is $576. (Education Code  69430 -   
               69450)

            ANALYSIS
          
          This bill:

           1)    Establishes the California Community Colleges Assistance  
                Grant Program.  It:

                    a)             Requires the California Student Aid  








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                    Commission (CSAC) to annually augment, by $1500, the  
                    award for a Cal Grant B Entitlement or Competitive  
                    grant recipient enrolled in a California community  
                    college.

                    b)             Requires that these awards supplement  
                    and not supplant Cal Grant B awards and other student  
                    financial aid received by these students.

           2)    Requires that the awards under the California Community  
                Colleges Assistance Grant Program be funded by a General  
                Fund appropriation in the annual Budget Act. 

          STAFF COMMENTS
          
          1)   Need for the bill. According to the author, the community  
               college student demographic is much broader than the  
               traditional first-time student, and often includes older,  
               lower-income, first-generation students with families of  
               their own.  Although these students have access to Cal  
               Grant B entitlement and competitive awards, the current  
               annual access award of $1,551 is insufficient to cover  
               expenses outside of school fees.  According to the  
               Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) 2016-17 Budget Report on  
               Higher Education, the cost of attendance at a community  
               college for a student living off campus with a family is  
               $5,400-$12,300, with textbook costs alone ranging from  
               $1249-$1364.  This bill would provide an additional source  
               of funding to community college Cal Grant B recipients to  
               ensure they can cover the basic costs of attendance. 

          2)   Why only community colleges? According to information  
               provided by the Institute for College Access & Success  
               (TICAS), in Financial Aid Facts at California Community  
               Colleges(March 2010), while CCC fees are much lower than  
               tuition in other state or other colleges in California, the  
               total cost of attending  is much higher than most people  
               realize.  Despite high levels of need these students  
               receive much smaller state and institutional grants than  
               students at four year colleges, and full-time community  
               college students are the most likely to have "unmet need"  
               even after receiving all available aid.  According to  
               TICAS, 90 percent of CCC students still have need after all  
               aid is awarded compared to 64 percent and 56 percent at  








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               public four-year and private four-year schools in the  
               state, respectively.  Students at the CCC have an average  
               gap of $5,892 after all aid is received.  
          
          3)   Similar supplemental grant in 2015-16 Budget Act.  The  
               2015-16 Budget Act included funding for a new grant program  
               for California Community College Cal Grant B recipient  
               students.  AB 93 (Weber, Budget Act of 2015) provided $39  
               million in ongoing Proposition 98 funds for purposes of the  
               Full-Time Student Success Grant Program, and SB 97  
               (Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, Budget Act of 2015)  
               made $3 million of the appropriation available on a  
               one-time basis to support the implementation of the program  
               by local campuses.  The Full- Time Student Success Grant  
               (FTSSG) provides a supplemental grant for the 2015-16  
               school year to community college Cal Grant B recipients who  
               are receiving a Cal Grant B award payment. 

               The 2015-16 Budget Act also provided that:

                  a)        Eligible students must take 12 units or more. 

                  b)        The Chancellor's Office must determine the  
                    number of students eligible for this funding and  
                    distribute an equal amount to each student.  

                  c)        Each California Community College campus must  
                    receive a minimum allocation of $50,000.

                  d)        The remainder of the funding is to be  
                    allocated to campuses based upon a formula reflecting  
                    full-time equivalent students weighted by a measure of  
                    low-income populations demonstrated by Board of  
                    Governors fee waiver program participation within a  
                    district.

               The Chancellor's Office has determined that this award  
               shall not exceed $600 per student annually in 2015-16.  The  
               Chancellor's Office also indicates that the intent of this  
               funding was a desire to support student persistence,  
               retention and success by providing additional assistance so  
               that students could attend full-time and complete their  
               programs. In addition, there was a desire to strengthen the  
               value of the access award aid for the most disadvantaged  








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               students. 

               As currently drafted, this bill appears to create a program  
               similar to that created by the budget, but administered  
               through the California Student Aid Commission.  It also  
               appears that the $1500 award is to be granted in addition  
               to the award to be provided at the campus level under the  
               Full-Time Student Success Grant Program.  

               It is unclear why two distinct supplemental programs to the  
               Cal Grant B are necessary.

          1)   CSAC administration? Unlike the Full-Time Student Success  
               Grant Program,  
               the program established by this bill would be administered  
               by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC).  
               Particularly for new applicants, this administrative  
               structure could delay receipt of supplemental awards,  
               particularly as the CSAC awaits confirmation from students  
               and campuses of the actual enrollment of the student, a  
               process which can take some time to reconcile. 

               This supplement to the Cal Grant B program would be  
               exclusively available to community college students.  Is  
               there a need for administration of a single system award  
               program to be centralized at a state agency? Would  
               distribution of supplemental awards by the Chancellor's  
               Office and local campuses allow for a more streamlined  
               implementation and speedier access to funds by students?

          2)   Consolidation/codification? This bill creates a program to  
               provide a supplemental Cal Grant B award of $1500 to a  
               community college student.  The only criteria for the award  
               is that the student receives a Cal Grant B.  Staff notes  
               that the existing Full-Time Student Success Grant Program  
               only exists in Budget Act language.  Rather than create yet  
               another supplemental award program, could this program and  
               the program created by the 2015 Budget be consolidated?  
               Could/should this bill be amended to codify the program  
               established via budget bill language?

          3)   Community colleges and the Cal Grant B. A little over half  
               of the total Cal Grant B awardees in the state (276,000 in  
               2013-14) are enrolled at the California Community Colleges.  








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                According to information from the California Student Aid  
               Commission, in 2013-14, the total number of community  
               college Cal Grant B awardees was 139,769 with 47,376 and  
               92,393 awarded the Competitive award and Entitlement  
               awards, respectively.
            
          SUPPORT
          
          The Institute for College Access and Success

            OPPOSITION

          None received.

                                      -- END --