The passage of California’s Proposition 30 last month protected both K-12 and higher education from another round of severe cuts. This good news also creates an opportunity to reflect on how state resources can best ensure access and support success for the state’s current and future college students. To that end, we’ve been analyzing how the Cal Grant program is serving California’s college students. See our full Cal Grant Snapshot here.
We found that for 2012-13, there was only one Competitive Cal Grant available for every seventeen eligible applicants – up from one in seven in 2006-07. (While all eligible recent high school graduates receive a Cal Grant, otherwise eligible older students and students who did not apply by the March 2nd deadline must compete for a very limited number of grants.) We also learned that only about one-quarter (23%) of very low-income students who applied for federal aid received a state grant. And for those few very low-income students who do receive a Cal Grant, the stipend to cover educational costs beyond tuition has failed to keep pace with inflation and is now at a quarter of its original value.
TICAS research director Debbie Cochrane highlighted these and other findings at the California Student Aid Commission’s strategic planning session last month. Her comments on the state of Cal Grants and where the Commission can play a unique role can be read in its entirety here.