“In case there was any doubt, Governor Newsom’s revised state budget plan for 2020-21 confirms the devastating blow that the COVID-19 pandemic will deliver to California’s public colleges and universities absent federal investment. Yet by protecting the state Cal Grant program, and directing colleges to minimize impacts on programs and services for underrepresented students, Governor Newsom’s updated budget proposal makes clear that college affordability and opportunity remain priorities.
“During the Great Recession, California’s community colleges had to turn away half a million students and tuition doubled at the state’s public colleges and universities. However, the state’s decision to protect its largest financial aid programs from the worst of the cuts helped to protect access for lower income students and shield them from a surge in student debt.
“Even before COVID-19, California’s college students struggled with college costs and basic needs, and the crisis has made things far worse. Higher education, and the Cal Grant program specifically, needs more investment – not less – to ensure students have access to truly equitable, affordable college opportunities. The economic devastation brought on by COVID-19 has put new state investments out of reach, but California’s public colleges and universities are the economic engines that will position the state to rebuild and recover.
“We look forward to working together with Governor Newsom and the Legislature to enact a budget that protects the state’s most vulnerable students during the ongoing crisis, including targeted reforms to protect students forced to withdraw from colleges from additional academic and financial penalties.”
The Institute for College Access & Success is a trusted source of research, design, and advocacy for student-centered public policies that promote affordability, accountability, and equity in higher education. For more information see www.ticas.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.