Cal Grant Equity Framework
The California Student Aid Commission (Commission) serves the nation’s largest student population. Still, even as our state has grown more populous and diverse, equitable access to financial aid awards has not kept pace. The Commission supports the 2022 Cal Grant Equity Framework to modernize the program and serve more California students in need.
Background: Cal Grant, California’s primary state-funded financial aid program, was designed over six decades ago. Today’s Cal Grant still utilizes outdated rationing mechanisms, including barriers to eligibility based on age and time out of high school, which restrict students from accessing the financial aid they would otherwise be academically and financially eligible to receive.
In 2019, Asm. Jose Medina, Asm. Kevin McCarty and Sen. Connie Leyva, along with other college affordability advocates, called for the convening of a workgroup to look into the alarming rates at which California’s college students are struggling to pay for college expenses and basic needs and to develop a solution that can address the needs of today’s students. Members of the Work Group – comprising students, higher education segments and equity advocates – looked into the struggles students face daily: working excessive hours, skipping meals and living in unstable housing conditions. This led to the Cal Grant Equity Framework.
Cal Grant Equity Framework: This proposal is designed with the needs of today’s students in mind. The Framework is a student-centered model that modernizes our state Cal Grant program and addresses key policy objectives:
Simplifies and streamlines state aid, as well as aligns with federal changes
Addresses equity by reducing eligibility barriers
Establishes a focus on the total cost of attendance – not just tuition
Reduces student debt
Leverages state, federal, and institutional financial aid to better serve students
Makes applying for aid more straightforward for students and families
Will reach more students who otherwise might not attend
Additional summary documents on the Cal Grant Equity Framework and key outcomes for students are available here: