SMC Students Continue to Fight for Full Funding for Cal Grants

They Provide Testimony Before State Higher Education Panel

The assembly committee heard from (left to right) Santa Clara University President Rev. Michael Engh, Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, SMC student Jessi Bailey and  Kristen Soares, president of Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities.Speaking in a clear and strong voice, a confident Jessi Bailey ’15 testified before the California state assembly committee on higher education. Addressing committee Chair Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) and other members, Bailey said, “I am here to urge you to pass AB 1318, which would help students and families in California better plan for college and help students choose the option of attending a private, nonprofit college or university.” She added, “My first choice was Saint Mary’s. It was exactly what I was looking for.  Cal Grant allows me to attend Saint Mary’s.”

In addition to Bailey’s testimony, students Teasara Thompson ’13, Erik Thomas ’16 and Brittany Boynton ’13 joined other students from around the state in support of AB 1318, which was introduced by Assemblymember Susan Bonilla (D- Concord).  This legislation would establish a modern funding formula for determining the maximum Cal Grant award for students attending independent nonprofit schools. The bill would tie Cal Grant increases at the independent sector to those who attend the public sector. The Cal Grant for the independent sector has not increased since the year 2000. This formula would establish the Cal Grant award for the nonprofit sector at 80 percent of the base funding per Cal Grant at the University of California and California State University.

AB1318 was one of many bills before the education committee dealing with Cal Grants on April 9. However, AB1318 is the only bill on which Saint Mary’s has taken a position. The bill passed the committee unanimously and will now be heard in the Assembly committee on appropriations. No date has been set yet for the hearing.

By Tim Farley
Director of Community & Government Relations