From Assemblymember Phil Ting

Opening More Doors to Higher Education

Access to affordable higher education is the cornerstone of a strong middle class. As Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee and a proud UC Berkeley alum, I am committed to opening doors for more Californians, so they can attend one of our stellar public universities and community colleges.

One years-long priority of mine has been to increase UC and CSU enrollment for in-state students. Thanks to our larger-than-expected revenues, we have added 15,000 more slots at both of those campuses with an allocation of $180 million. Furthermore, we've secured another 4,500 slots for Californians at UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC San Diego by curtailing out-of-state admission at these high-demand schools.

Enough seats, though, is only half the battle. Many of our students can't go to college because they are either shut out from receiving financial aid or over-burdened with non-tuition costs. The new state budget enacts the largest expansion of Cal Grants in the program's history. 133,000 community college students will now have access to Cal Grants because their age and time out of high school will no longer be considered. These funds can also be used to cover expenses outside of tuition for all recipients.

We did the same to Middle Class Scholarships, allowing those monies to pay for the entire cost of attendance, including books, transportation, meals and housing. The additional $515 million for this program starts us on the path to debt-free college by closing the gap between traditional financial aid and what it actually costs to go.

Other higher-ed investments include:

  • $2 billion for more facilities and housing
  • $150 million to broaden mental health services
  • $115 million for the development of zero-cost textbooks
  • $100 million to keep students in school

I am excited about these historic steps we're making for our state's students, whether they're fresh out of high school or going back to school to train for a new career. It is my hope the days of taking on crushing student debt, as well as housing and food insecurity, will soon be over.

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