Consequences of Eliminating the Cal Grant

May 31st, 2009 · 6 Comments

With California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new budget plan released last Tuesday, I have been trying to wrap my head around the impact of these massive budget cuts. Per the usual, the most vulnerable will feel the biggest squeeze. California will become the only state without a welfare program with the proposed elimination of Cal-Works, one million poor children will be dropped from health insurance, and over 200,000 college-bound students would lose some or all of their tuition assistance coming from the Cal Grant program. Existing grants will be reduced, and new grants for incoming students will be eliminated.

Cal Grants are kind of like vouchers for college students, and currently they do the following:

“They provide up to the full fees at public universities – $7,788 at University of California campuses and $3,354 at California State University schools. Low-income students attending community colleges, who typically pay no fees, can get up to $1,551 per year in cash for transportation, books and living expenses. Those attending private colleges in California can get up to $9,708 in tuition payments.”

What makes this budget cut so disturbing is that a lack of financial assistance is widely cited as a barrier for Latino youth to attend college, and in California, students will be faced with a double whammy with the elimination of this aid and then fee increases at public institutions next year.

Furthermore, the  Public Policy Institute of California projects that by 2025 only 32 percent of the state’s working age adults will have a college degree, while 41% of all jobs will require one. Guess we are going to have to import more H1B workers, fueling the immigration woes.

While the recession has brought unimaginable problems to states all over the union, California is one of the only states eliminating need based aid:

“This is not happening everywhere,” says Tom Mortenson, senior scholar at the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. “Almost all other states protect need-based grant programs and expand them during recessions.” To compensate, “they cut school budgets with the expectation they can raise tuition. This is why we were all so shocked that the governor was going to cut this first. Maybe he is making a political statement. He’s going to galvanize a lot of opposition.”

This Cal Grant crisis is a great opportunity for Latino politicians in California at both the state and federal level to pick up the torch and run with it. So many of our youth will be adversely affected, and during recessions, it makes more sense to go to school to acquire additional training instead of grovel for the shortage of low paying jobs. I’m going to be keeping an eye out for some solutions to this crisis from our fearless leaders, but in the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts here.

Tags: Economics · Education

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anna // May 31, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Arnold and his buddies don’t want poor people to get an education. They want them mowing lawns, filling up the prisons and fighting the wars.

    Why did they ever let this guy immigrate here? He made his fortune in this state and look how he shows his gratitude.

  • 2 Michaelr // Jun 2, 2009 at 11:03 am

    It’s no surprise how none of the Latino assembly members in Sacramento have even opened their mouths regarding how these budget cuts are going to affect the Latino community. This reflects how concerned those politicians are about their constituents.

  • 3 Bearguez // Jun 2, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Based on this action for no action alone, it appears that all the negative stereotypes applied to California Latino politicians are actually character traits. You’d think that Gil Cedillo would want to term out of office with a fight. I guess not.

  • 4 Professor Y // Jun 3, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Cal Grants is a structural funding requirement for the necessary educational advancement and social growth of Californians. Cutting off or diminishing these grants is the state solution to guaranteeing a viable underclass. Why do I think that some California business and home owners are thrilled with this unethical budget.

  • 5 rg // Sep 2, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Quit whining.. Its not only LATINOS that are Effectted by this. I paid taxes for 20 years and now have nothing and am full time in school at 38 years old. Guess what, i lost my cal grant too and i’m WHITE! Figure something else out, stop looking for handouts and quit living on the success of everyone else and the tax base. Read the above articles and it should make anyone sick.. 7 kids and they eat rice and pot pies.. Use contraception, Get sterilized or stop having sex if you cant handle paying for your own kids! Its that simple, it has nothing to do with what color or race you are. I still buy all my own food yet i stand in line every day at the store while 60% or so of the population holds up the line with food stamps and WIC.. What else do you want ? Blood? Get a real argument. Its time someone moves into office that isnt so politically correct and fixes all this free-bee bull..

  • 6 Pinoy // Feb 26, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Okay but what about the people who are NOT white, not Mexican and are an only child who is aspiring to better their condition? My mother and I have been LIVING off of an approximate 6000 income and youre telling me that, becuase Im poor and because I’m “lazy” that I have to be at fault?? Is it truely my fault that I want to get somewhere in life but dont have the funding to make it? I am a Filipino/White, am in band (who just so happened to be invited to the 2009 Rose Parade along w/ the rest of my band mates) take AP classes, and am in 2 clubs as President.

    If I were to follow your logic, I am just some money sucking poor little pinoy trying to abuse the tax base and “the money everyone else worked so hard to earn”. How do you think that makes me feel? Highly insulted.

    I am TRYING to get my foot into the door of the working world with an EDUCATION, not as some labor worker who doesn’t know anything beyond stacking shelves, working in the fields, or operating machinery.

    So before you start prattling about people who try and suck on handouts why don’t you take a look at the people who have struggled and been struggling just to survive, trying to find jobs, trying to live paycheck by paycheck (WITHOUT welfare mind you) and trying to pursue a better education.

    Stop the fallacies and ask around-not everyone who uses food stamps is the bad guy…

    ((BTW my mom didn’t even use contraception as I was the only child that she ever wanted and I STILL have to live off of rice and soup))

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