Assembly Bill 2813 (De La Torre) Protecting Access and Affordability: Cal Grant Program Investments The California State University (CSU) and the California State Students Association (CSSA) are proposing three changes in the current Cal Grant programs through AB 2813 (De La Torre) to ensure that our state financial aid program is consistent with the state’s promise of access to an affordable and high quality college education. Assembly Bill 2813: Provides all Cal Grant B high school entitlement award recipients who enroll at four-year institutions with funds to cover tuition and fees during the initial year of their award consistent with current law for Cal Grant A recipients. Doubles the number of Competitive Grants - from 22,500 to 45,000 in recognition of the five-fold demand for these limited grants each year. Modifies the age cap limitation for Cal Grant Transfer Entitlement awards from 24 to 27 years to reflect the average age of students seeking a college degree in California. Background California adopted reforms in the state’s long-standing financial aid program, known as Cal Grants in 2000. The reforms provided that California high school graduates who attend college immediately after graduating from high school with a 3.0 and 2.0 grade point average (GPA) and financially needy, were promised Cal Grant Entitlement A or B awards, respectively to assist them in going to college. California high school graduates who did not receive an entitlement award from high school may be eligible for a transfer entitlement award when transferring from a community college to a four-year institution with at least a 2.4 grade point average. Key Points The state has made a commitment to students who work hard, graduate from high school (or equivalent) necessary for college admissions (known as the A-G pattern) that they would have an opportunity to pursue a higher education. The state needs to ensure that students have access to college to keep California’s economy competitive with more and more good jobs demanding college degrees. The current Cal Grant program does not provide an equal opportunity for all students; specifically Cal Grant B Entitlement grants do not cover the costs of fees/tuition in the first year of college while Cal Grant A Entitlement grants do. Over 135,000 eligible students applied for the 22,500 Competitive Grant awards last year. Many of these students are financially needy, generally working, older students who are denied an entitlement award because of the minimal awards available. State policy does not restrict access to college to students that are under 24 years of age and yet our Cal Grant program denies these students access to Cal Grants even though they meet all other eligibility requirements. ACTION ITEM - Urge the Assembly Appropriations Committee to approve AB 2813 (De La Torre) on May 24th. - Advocate for a $20 million appropriation in the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) budget for 2006/07 for first year implementation of the bill. - Vote for AB 2813 when it comes before them for action.