Unprecedented California Budget Surplus Provides Boost for Proposed Higher Education Spending
Key investments include money for colleges, consumer protection, student borrower outreach, longitudinal data, and the middle-class scholarship, but additional funding for Cal Grants notably absent
“California Governor Gavin Newsom’s revision to his proposed 2022-23 state budget, released today, contains significant investments to protect students and consumers as well as investments in colleges and students to advance economic prosperity for all Californians.
“We applaud the Governor’s continued focus on the systemic drivers of high and rising college costs, through campus housing projects, efforts to lower textbook costs, and system- and college-level reforms that will reduce time-to-degree and increase the odds of transfer and degree completion. However, as we have long advocated, making the most of these initiatives requires additional work to simplify and expand the Cal Grant, the cornerstone of college affordability in California and one of the most robust need-based state financial aid programs in the country. Although the proposed budget includes an investment in financial aid, those resources are delivered through a program that – unlike the Cal Grant – does not prioritize the students with the highest need, including those enrolled in our community colleges.
“As the students and colleges hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic struggle to recover, it is critical that the state build upon last year’s creation of the California Community College (CCC) Expanded Entitlement Cal Grant award by removing additional barriers to grant eligibility, simplifying the program to make it easier to understand and communicate to students and families, and indexing the access award to inflation.
“We are pleased to see that the revised budget contains an investment to support the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, which is the first line of defense for students who enroll in private postsecondary programs and the primary state-level regulator of private colleges and institutions. The Bureau serves an essential function for the state; however, the agency has struggled with unstable funding as a result of an outdated fee model. This investment will allow the Bureau to achieve the long-term fiscal stability needed for effective consumer protection.
“The May Revision also includes investments to implement the Cradle-to-Career (C2C) Data System and to increase intersegmental collaboration to benefit students. The C2C system seeks to foster evidence-based decision-making. These investments will create data-informed tools to help students reach their college and career goals as well as deliver information on education and workforce outcomes to support more effective and equitable policies at the state, system, and college level throughout California.
“We commend Governor Newsom’s ongoing commitment to building affordable, high-quality pathways to and through college, support for data to inform policy and create equitable outcomes for California’s students, and prioritization of strong protections for students and consumers. We look forward to continuing to work with his Administration and the Legislature to ensure that the final 2022-23 state budget agreement provides the reforms students need today to address ongoing structural inequities in state financial aid.”
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