Budget Plan Would Raise The Bar For Cal Grant Financial Aid

Ann McClure's picture

Were it not for the financial aid that helps cover the cost of his tuition, it is unlikely that Devonte Jackson would be able to attend UC Berkeley.

The political science major has two campus jobs, but his $12,000 state-paid Cal Grant is the glue that holds his education dreams together. Tuition, books, housing and other fees top $31,000 annually.

But Cal Grants could become much harder to obtain for new students under restrictions proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown as part of his 2012-13 budget. One of the most contentious of them would increase the minimum grade point average needed to qualify for the two types of awards, which are merit- and income-based and are a key part of the financial aid package for many low- and middle-income students.

Cal Grant "A" currently covers tuition up to $5,472 at Cal State universities, up to $12,192 at the University of California and up to $9,708 toward tuition and fees at private colleges. Cal Grant "B," for students with lower incomes, provides $1,551 for books, living expenses and tuition assistance, typically for students attending community colleges.

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