Publication | July 31, 2019

Bittersweet Relief: Strengthening California’s Tuition Recovery Fund to Better Support Students

Students suffer extreme hardship when their postsecondary education is interrupted or devalued by school closure or misconduct, leaving them with tens of thousands of dollars of debt. California’s Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) is a state-managed reserve intended to relieve or mitigate the financial distress these students experience, but it has only provided relief to a relatively small number of students affected by school closure. While STRF has the potential to be a critical resource to students harmed by failing schools, it is clear that improvements to visibility and accessibility to students are needed in order to accomplish that goal. This report examines the history of STRF and student loan forgiveness programs, describes the impact of school closures on students, and provides policy recommendations informed by student testimony and interviews conducted with legal aid providers and state government representatives.