SACRAMENTO–State senators Friday unanimously approved a budget trailer bill vote that will provide funding to enact major provisions of SB 15, a measure by Senator Marty Block and Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León to improve higher education access and affordability.
The trailer bill, SB 81, will also assist California’s higher education systems to provide the support undergraduate students need to graduate in four years.
“SB 15 outlined a policy vision for meeting the crucial needs of California’s higher education system. Passage of SB 81 was an important step toward reinvestment in the UC and CSU systems,” Block said. He added, “SB 15 provided the policy, and SB 81 provided the funding. SB 81 puts the final pieces in place to the effort we started in January.”
Block said SB 81 will fund 5,000 new slots in the UC system and 10,000 slots in the CSU system – all for California students. It will also increase the number of competitive Cal Grants by 3,250 awards for a total of 25,750 awards and eliminate the reduction in the maximum amounts of Cal Grant A and B awards for students attending private, non-profit colleges or accredited for-profit colleges for two years.
In addition to increasing affordability and access, SB 81 will also provide funding for counselors to help guide undergraduates in their course and degree selection and faculty to teach the most in-demand classes. Lack of sufficient classes contributes to bottlenecks which sometimes extend degree completion well beyond four years.
“The leadership in both houses of the Legislature worked together to fund this new support for our higher education systems, primarily by streamlining, but not eliminating, the Middle Class Scholarship,” Block stated. “This is all part of a $216 million increase in funding to the CSU, the largest investment in that system in more than a decade.”