Legislation would provide emergency grants for students with unforeseen financial hardships
Sacramento, CA--A bill authored by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) that would provide community college students with emergency financial aid passed the Assembly Education Committee today. Assembly Bill 943 would allow community colleges to administer emergency grants to help stabilize students in financial crisis in order to continue their education.
“With the cost of education as high as it is, many students are just one financial crisis away from having to drop out of school,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “We want to give students who experience an emergency a bit of stability so they can continue their studies.”
As a college education becomes more expensive, students are finding it increasingly difficult to afford basic needs like housing, food, and transportation. Studies have shown that experiencing just one financial emergency can force a student to drop out of school and derail their entire college career.
AB 943 seeks to provide a small safety net for a student experiencing an unforeseen financial emergency like an eviction, sudden illness, or the death of a family member. Allowing community colleges to offer small grants throughout the semester will improve student success, retention, and completion rates.
The California Federation of Teachers, Faculty Association of California Community Colleges, City College of San Francisco Faculty Union, AFT 2121, Los Rios College Federation of Teachers, AFT 2279, and Scholarship America are cosponsoring AB 943.
"Housing insecurity in particular is a huge obstacle to our students' success,” said Jenny Worley, President of AFT 2121. “This bill will allow City College to provide students with the emergency support they need to stay in school when a crisis threatens to interrupt their studies."
“People don’t realize the crisis situation of housing and food insecurity that so many of our students face in California’s Community Colleges,” said Dean Murakami, President of AFT 2279. “These are critical barriers to student success. Assemblymember Chiu’s AB 943 helps to address the critical needs of our students.”
“As the nation’s largest educational support provider, we strongly believe that AB 943 authored by Assemblyman Chiu will offer California community colleges an effective tool to help students continue their education when faced with an unexpected financial crisis," said Bob Ballard, President and CEO of Scholarship America.
AB 943 is a part of a broad legislative effort to increase financial aid opportunities for California’s community college students. Assembly Bill 2 by Assemblymembers Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) and David Chiu (D-San Francisco) would waive a second year of tuition for all first-time, full-time community college students. Senate Bill 291 by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) would expand the pool of students eligible for financial aid and take costs outside of tuition--like housing, food, and transportation--into account when determining the amount of financial aid available to students.
AB 943 will move on to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.