On March 24, 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed various budget-related bills to cut down on state spending. One of these bills included the Senate Bill 70, which enforced stricter limitations in the Cal Grant Program.
This change affected scores of college students, including many from California Baptist University. As a result, CBU has created a new grant to specifically help these students.
With SB 70 signed into law, “students must now re-qualify for renewal of the Cal Grant based on the most current income and assets levels reported on the FAFSA,” according to a recent email sent by the Financial Aid Office.
“Approximately 100 CBU students were affected by this change,” Joshua Morey, associate director of financial aid, said. “So for every student that lost [their] Cal Grant due to SB 70, we had to consider the possibility that they could not afford to come back if we didn’t do anything to help.”
With collaboration between the Office of Finance, Office of Admissions, Financial Aid Office, Student Services and the Executive Council, CBU countered student’s monetary loss with their own offer of aid: the CBU-Cal Assist Grant in the amount of $5,000 for the 2011-2012 academic year.
“Everyone agreed that we had to do something. We were very thankful that the university approved this new institutional grant to assist our families and students,” Morey said.
With this added aid, the university ended up losing very few students.
Not simply a school-wide dilemma, this epidemic of lost funding has spread across the entire state, affecting those in public and private universities in equal turns. Public universities, such as UC schools, cost less in total, but do not possess the funds for many in-house grants that private universities can provide.
“At the public universities, students were told by the state not to do any sort of appeal with their financial aid offices. I have not heard of any state schools offering a grant. Regardless, it’s affecting students all across the state, both public and private,” Morey said.
These long-term consequences threaten to endanger any and all students, not just those affected by the recent Cal Grant cuts. Morey said, “I would encourage the students to be an active voice in state politics as it relates to financial aid. That does have a great influence on certain decisions our legislators and Governor make. The State needs to know what they do affects students at the local level. They need to hear from their constituents.”