Press Release/Statement | July 8, 2024

TICAS applauds higher education successes in California’s 2024-25 budget, highlights opportunities for further investment

In response to California’s state budget agreement for Fiscal Year 2024-25, Emmanuel “Manny” Rodriguez, Director of Policy and Advocacy for California at The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), issued the following statement:

“TICAS congratulates Governor Gavin Newsom and the California legislature on crafting a final 2024-25 state budget agreement that meets the state’s fiscal reality without destabilizing higher education funding. While we are disappointed that another budget goes by without any significant investment into the Cal Grant program, the final $293 billion budget ensures that no student in the 2024-25 academic year will see reductions to their state financial aid, provides net funding increases to California’s public institutions, and advances specific affordable student housing projects at the California Community Colleges (CCC).

“We specifically appreciate the following investments and policy changes:

  • Mitigating FAFSA/CADAA declines:
    • Providing $20 million in one-time funds to assist community college financial aid offices’ support of students who have yet to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act application (CADAA).
    • Delaying the priority financial aid deadline from May 2, 2024 to July 1, 2024, to ensure that returning and continuing students can receive a Middle Class Scholarship award for the 2024-25 award year despite federal FAFSA delays.
  • Expanding college and career planning resources:
    • $2 million ongoing for the California College Guidance Initiative, along with trailer bill language to expand their authority to work with local education agencies.
  • Affordable student housing:
    • Establishing a financial structure for a statewide lease revenue bond program to support the construction of 13 CCC affordable student housing facilities.
    • Maintaining $50.6 million, provided in 2023-24, to support three CCC districts’ housing projects that are not included within bond funding.
  • Fostering CalFresh participation at colleges:
    • Including reporting language to support a statewide data-sharing agreement that will promote college student CalFresh participation.
  • Enrollment growth at public postsecondary institutions:
    • Supporting a 0.5% enrollment growth at the CCC.
    • Setting a 2024-25 enrollment target of 2,927 additional full-time equivalent students at the University of California (UC) and 6,338 additional full-time equivalent students at the California State University (CSU).
  • Maintaining system funding:
    • Providing the CCCs with a 1.07% cost-of-living adjustment.
    • Continuing funding for the UC and CSU Compacts by providing net-increases to the base funding for the UC (about $100 million) and the CSU (about $165 million), along with reporting language around the costs associated with the Compacts’ goals.
  • Maintaining Cal Grant eligibility guardrails for institutions:
    • Continuing the use of the three-year cohort default rate from 2020 to determine whether an institution is eligible to participate in the Cal Grant program in the 2024-25 award year.

“This year was especially tough on our students and families due to the delayed and flawed federal roll-out of the Better FAFSA – a mistake that will reverberate into the future through decreases in FAFSA and CADAA rates, inequitable completion gaps for certain communities, and potential enrollment declines. Looking ahead, California policymakers should focus on actions and investments that make California’s public postsecondary education systems accessible, attainable, and debt free – first and foremost for students from low-income backgrounds. This can include increasing funding for FAFSA and CADAA outreach programs, encouraging financial aid uptake at the CCC level, keeping the CADAA open to mixed-status families, re-engaging students who did not enroll or stopped out of college, expanding Cal Grant eligibility to more low-income students, and increasing the award amount of Cal Grants that help students cover non-tuition costs.

We look forward to working alongside Governor Newsom and the California State Legislature to secure the necessary investments and policy changes that will make it possible for all Californians to get to and through college without taking out burdensome debt.”