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California Moves to Increase Access to Higher Ed

September 15, 2000

In a move designed to significantly improve access to higher education, California Governor Gray Davis signed legislation this week that will significantly expand the state's scholarship programs. Under the new legislation nearly one-third of high school graduates will receive scholarship assistance through the state's Cal Grant program, according to the bill's sponsors. The expansion means that students that maintain a high grade point average and come from middle to low-income families will have their tuition covered by the state of California for all four years of college. Additionally, a new scholarship program was created directed at the state's highest achievers in math and science.

Through the legislation, Cal Grant A scholarships will be awarded to financially eligible students with a B (3.0) grade point average (GPA) to be used at public or private four-year institutions. The awards will cover full tuition at California Community Colleges, State Universities, and the University of California or they can be used for up to $9,700 for tuition support at private universities in California. The grants are renewable if the 3.0 GPA is maintained. 

Meanwhile, students with a C (2.0) grade average can receive Cal Grant B scholarships to be used as a community college. For community college students, awards of $1,551 may be used for books and living expenses. Cal Grants will also be extended to all students who complete community college within five years of high school graduation and whose academic records allow them to transfer to four-year universities. 

Up to 22,500 new Cal Grant A/B awards will be made to "second chance" students – those who have returned to or are newly entering college as adults. 

In addition to achieving the required GPA, students must meet income eligibility requirements. These range from $23,500 in annual income for recipients who are independent to $74,100 for students from families of six or more. The income ceiling for a family of four is $64,100 for students who get Cal Grant A awards and $33,700 for students who get Cal Grant B awards. 

Meanwhile, a new scholarship program was created aimed at science and technology. The Distinguished Mathematics and Science Scholars program will provide $2,500 to students with the highest scores on math and science Advanced Placement exams. 

More information can be obtained at http://www.governor.ca.gov/briefing/pressreleases/sept00/I00099911.html