“California Governor Gavin Newsom’s revision to the 2021-22 state budget released today offers much for the state – and students – to celebrate. It builds on recent investments to support students struggling during the pandemic, and provides historic new investments in colleges and students to advance economic prosperity for all Californians.
“We are pleased that the revised budget retains the Governor’s previously proposed investments in college affordability, including an increase in Competitive Cal Grants that will provide thousands more students with the resources they need to successfully earn a college credential – a move that will particularly benefit low-income students and students of color attending California’s community colleges. We also appreciate the continued prioritization of the California Cradle-to-Career Data System; integrated and transparent statewide data is essential to aligning California’s educational systems and achieving an equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today’s revision underscores the Governor’s continuing commitment to economic recovery and provides long-term investments to help disrupt intergenerational poverty. In recognizing the burden of non-tuition costs on California’s college students, the Governor’s proposed investments include $4 billion to develop subsidized student housing, establishing college savings accounts for students from low-income households, summer financial aid for public university students to improve timely completion, stipends and scholarships for participation in service programs, funding to close the digital divide, and investments to create more robust and flexible pathways to a range of credentials and degrees. The proposal also provides investments for community colleges to develop free textbooks, better support underrepresented and undocumented students, and address student basic needs.
“While these historic investments build toward a future in which college costs – including living expenses, and books and supplies – are within reach for all students, further strengthening the financial aid programs that our state’s least resourced students rely on today to access and succeed in higher education remains a critical priority. This includes addressing the Cal Grant program’s longstanding structural limitations by extending an entitlement award to at least all students with Pell Grant-eligible financial circumstances and providing robust access awards for non-tuition costs – reforms that are supported by advocates and included in legislative proposals currently under consideration.
“We commend the Governor for his commitment to building and investing in more affordable pathways to and through postsecondary education, and look forward to working with his Administration and the Legislature to ensure the final 2021-22 budget also provides reforms that address ongoing structural inequities in state financial aid.”