California Democrats call for boosting financial aid to students

March 13, 2017

Democratic California lawmakers unveiled a plan Monday that would create the nation’s most generous college aid system, covering living expenses as well as tuition. [LA Times]

The new program would cost an estimated $1.6 billion a year when fully implemented. California’s Student Aid Commission already administers $2.1 billion in annual state financial aid, the highest amount in the nation.

But, Assembly Democrats say the state must tackle spiraling student debt and make college more affordable. Currently, the average annual cost of college is about $21,000 at Cal State and $33,000 at University of California campuses. Living expenses account for 60 percent of the total cost of UC attendance.

The new plan, which is being spearheaded by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), would supplement the state’s existing aid programs with the aim of eradicating student loans for nearly 400,000 students in the Cal State and UC systems. It would also boost grants to community college students and create a tuition-free first year for those attending community college full time.

Lower-income students “are able to many times, through our great programs in California, get help to pay for tuition. But they’re still graduating with a tremendous amount of debt,” McCarty said. “The cost of living, the books, the transportation — that’s [what] we really need to tackle.”

If California were to adopt McCarty’s plan, students would still have access to existing financial aid, including federal Pell Grants, state programs like Cal Grants, and university grants. Students would also continue to have access to Middle Class Scholarships if they are not eliminated as Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing.

Parents making more than $60,000 would be expected to make a contribution, and students would also be expected to chip in by holding part-time jobs year-round. The new scholarships would cover the remainder of the annual cost of college.

Assembly Democrats are proposing phasing in the program over five years, with an initial cost of $320 million and another $100 million for community college provisions. Most of the financial aid money would come from the state’s general fund.

Supporters of the program say its cost will decrease as the state minimum wage increases and students earn more at their jobs.

In February, the state Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report estimating a $3.3 billion price tag for fully debt-free college. That report included covering living expenses for community college students, whereas the current proposal does not.

Last year, Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid pushed the idea of tuition-free college into the national spotlight. Also, a recent survey indicated college affordability is a big problem for nearly 60 percent of Californians.

However, it is unclear whether state Senate Democrats will back the plan their colleagues in the Assembly are pushing. Senate leader Kevin de Leon has proposed his own bill to boost aid to community colleges. Likewise, Brown has been reluctant to approve new spending in state budgets.


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rukidding

We the people have to start standing up to these politicians who are impersonating Santa Claus

with our money. It’s the system that create the costs. Years ago I became friends with a Cal Poly professor and during our conversations I asked if he taught 3 or 4 classes a day. He about fell out of his chair and said that he may teach 2 classes a week although he receives full pay. So how many of us would like to receive full pay and maybe show up for work 1 day a week. So for all of us who they say “you just don’t get it” I think I do get it. The system is more fat than meat. With that said the butchers need to come in and reduce the fat. Until then they, along with every other government agency, will squeeze us dry.


TiaMiaOhMy

Does anyone else think our WHOLE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM needs an overhaul?? Why do we offer so many ridiculous classes? Why is it taking students SOOOO long to get through school? CUT THE CRAP from their required curriculum. If they want to be an Engineer – then have them study the necessary classes, they don’t need a music class, they don’t need to take a “diversity” health class, especially if they’ve had all the health stuff in High School. Oh, I know – we want “well rounded” individuals. Well, at this point I want my child OUT OF THE UNIVERSITY setting as fast as possibly because of the lunacy going on there – wacked out Professors and the liberal Administrators that are catering to the left leaning agenda. Let’s get back to basics and get the students OUT of college and working in the REAL word and maybe they’d value a dollar more and it would COST LESS FOR ALL OF US!


Pelican1

Hmmmm…perhaps if the state would just scrap the 10 billion dollar bullet (white elephant) train to nowhere, they could easily afford to subsidize students.


easymoney

Cut the fat at the top…

And, what ever happened to all that loto money?

How about all the school funding bills and bonds that were voted in over the last few decades?


nunsense

“Hey – I have an idea, lets cut the cost of higher education by cutting spending on students who aren’t citizens and bloated admin budgets” – said no rep ever.


whatdouno

Since the democrats are so willing to support college students, I think this should fall on them only. Please put a provision in if this passes that only registered democrats will be liable for the taxes required to give free education to these low income students. Why are we teaching our youth that it’s okay to freely spend other people’s money to support what they want?


isoslo

The students could not afford the debt, so they transfer the debt to the taxpayers. Brilliant! And the CA taxpayers will keep electing the same people because the media tells them that only the democrats care about the people.


copperhead

Absolute insanity. Jack up prices sky high, create a class of debtors (many of whom believe they will never have to honor their contracts), and then when the whole scheme fails, give everyone involved a pass and drop $3B on the taxpayers.


If people take on debt, they must pay it back or they will continue that habit into life and you create an even more heavily entitled generation.


This Ponzi scheme dwarfs madoff and the people behind it should be imprisoned. Unbelievable.


shelworth

Sure, stick it to the taxpayers again, I think maybe we need smarter High School graduates first. The kids going to college seem to have no sense whatsoever. Borrow $100K in order to get a “Ethnic Studies Degree”? I think a better plan would be to encourage Science and Engineering degrees. How about a mandatory class when you are a Senior in HS on what different degrees are worth? Also, what happens when you borrow money for college? I don’t think they realize they have to pay that back some day. That pizza party for your buds as a freshman could cost you 1000s by the time you pay off your loan.


just the facts

“But, Assembly Democrats say the state must tackle spiraling student debt….”


Yikes! What about the taxpayer debt? Will California survive the Sandernistas?


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