Everyone's celebrating the Governor's "pledge" to save the Cal Grant... everyone except for students, that is. The pledge to save the Cal grant doesn't save anything at all. In fact, it hurts low income students and their families.
If you dissect this “pledge,” the truth reveals the Governor has made another empty statement that still cuts funding to higher education. In his official statement, the Governor says: “I will not sign a budget without those increases in there,” referring to his January budget proposal. Let’s break it down. First, Schwarzenegger stated that he will not cut from the $2 billion he proposed in January. This alleged increase actually is a reimbursement to this year’s budget from last year to supplement the mandated enrollment growth increases. As for the Cal Grant, the Governor said that he would not sign a budget that makes any additional cuts to the Cal Grant than the budget that he proposed in January. Looking at his January proposal, this means that eliminating the Competitive Cal Grant, decoupling the Cal Grant from fee increases (leaving a $3,000 gap), and capping the income ceiling limit are still on the table. If there were any additional cuts made to Schwarzenegger’s January proposal, the Cal Grant program would be destroyed.
In short, students will still be burdened with being billed $10,000 for fees without having a secure source of financial aid to help pay for it.
Saving funding for higher education and the Cal Grant was originally a demand that students made during meetings with the Governor at UCSA’s Lobby Day on March 1st and through mobilizations made at the capitol and across campuses during the year. On Lobby Day, the Governor pledged to save the Competitive Cal Grant if there was an increase in revenue from tax receipts. On Tax Day, there was a 3.9% increase from receipts, which would be able to fund the Competitive Cal Grant. California’s tax-paying families have upheld our part of the bargain, why hasn’t the Governor?
Students feel cheated and frustrated with the Governor failing to keep his promise. The Governor is perpetuating a broken system that he helped create where the state funds prisons more than higher education. Students will not stand for this. We will take action until he keeps his word and gives what is owed to us. We're going to hold the Governor accountable to his promise to restore the Cal Grant and increase support for higher education.
The University of California Student Association is the official voice of over 200,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students from the eleven UC campuses. It is our mission to advocate on behalf of current and future students for the accessibility, affordability, and quality of the University of California system.