Assembly Passes Bill to Boost College Financial Aid Access

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – The California State Assembly passed legislation authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Democratic Caucus, to expand access to financial aid for thousands of students by helping them complete their applications.

Assembly Bill (AB) 2160 passed with a 73-0 vote and heads to the State Senate for further review.

“This simple reform will yield powerful results,” said Ting.  “For most students, success in college is shaped by access to financial aid.  Students who apply for aid are twice as likely to enroll and more likely to graduate.  That makes this legislation so important.  Education is the greatest gift we can give to our children and we must ensure that they can complete their education goals to get the best start in life.”

Assembly Bill (AB) 2160 will require all high schools, with written parental consent, to electronically submit grade point average verification for every graduating 12th grade student to the California Student Aid Commission.  GPA verification, along with a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form or Dream Act Application, is required for students to be considered for a Cal Grant.  Unfortunately, this information is not always sent, rendering the application incomplete and the student ineligible for aid.   

“By harnessing technology, we can significantly reduce hours of paperwork student counselors spend to verify each student GPA and the tens of thousands of paper entries our Student Aid Commission must process,” added Ting.  “Capturing this efficiency will free our educators to focus more on the needs of students.”

Many school districts are pioneering electronic GPA verification, such as San Francisco, Fresno, Oakland, and Los Angeles.

Cal Grants help students from low-income families cover fees at the University of California and California State University systems as well as other expenses.  They can also assist with tuition at private colleges and technical schools. 

Further information about AB 2160 is available at www.leginfo.ca.gov.

Contact: Anthony Matthews (Ting), tel. (916) 319-2019, anthony.matthews@asm.ca.gov