Governor Newsom Signs Legislation to Make College More Affordable and Accessible in California

July 27, 2021

AB 132 implements expansion of Cal Grant program, improvements to Middle Class Scholarship program and dual admissions pathway to UC or CSU for eligible community college students 

Expands college savings accounts program for low-income and underrepresented public school students

Creates programs to help underrepresented students gain relevant work experience and support workers displaced by the pandemic with education or high-quality training grants

California Comeback plan will create more slots for in-state students who wish to attend a CSU or UC school

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today signed the higher education budget trailer bill implementing significant California Comeback Plan investments in college affordability and access – including expanded student financial aid, education and training grants for workers displaced by the pandemic, transfer pathways for community college students and college savings accounts for low-income and underrepresented public school students. The Governor’s California Comeback Plan provides an unprecedented level of investment in the state’s world-class public higher education system, with $47.1 billion total for the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), California Community Colleges (CCC) and student financial aid.

“The California Comeback Plan doubles down on our commitment to making college more affordable and accessible than ever before, boosting the state’s nation-leading recovery from the pandemic and driving our long-term economic prosperity,” said Governor Newsom. “With massive increases in funding for our world-class colleges and universities, expanded college savings accounts, increased student financial aid and opportunities to gain work experience while learning, we are helping students reach their full potential and driving upward mobility across California.”

Making college more affordable, AB 132 implements the California Comeback Plan’s expansion of the Cal Grant program for community college students by eliminating age and time-out-of-high-school requirements, with awards that follow students to the UC and CSU upon transfer. Starting in 2022-23, the bill also revises the Middle Class Scholarship program to provide scholarships intended to cover up to the difference between a student’s total cost of attendance and other sources of aid, including student and family contributions, depending upon available resources each year. It also makes summer financial aid investments for UC and CSU students permanent and includes $115 million for Zero-Textbook-Cost Degree grant programs and open educational resources at CCCs, helping address the rising costs of textbooks.

Working to create more equitable and streamlined pathways from school to career, the budget trailer bill establishes a Learning-Aligned Employment program at the UC, CSU and CCC to help underrepresented students with financial need gain relevant work experience, promoting long-term employment opportunities. It also establishes the Golden State Education and Training Grant Program to provide grants for education or high-quality training for workers displaced by the pandemic.

View the full release on Governor Newsom’s website.

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