Cal Grant Funds Fall Short for Eligible Students

Cal Grant Funds Fall Short for Eligible Students

SACRAMENTO, Calif.
Thousands of needy and eligible community college students will not receive a Cal Grant this year, not through any fault of theirs, but because there simply aren’t enough grants to go around.
The Cal Grant program recently completed a first-ever September processing cycle specifically for community college students to compete for 11,250 grants that were set aside for them. The colleges were able to fully qualify more than 58,000 students — or five eligible students for every one available grant. More than 47,000 community college students are therefore receiving letters from the California Student Aid Commission telling them they were eligible but will not receive one of the grants. The grants, each worth $1,551, can be used to help pay for books and supplies, transportation to classes, childcare, and food and housing expenses.
“Our colleges are proud of the outreach effort that resulted in eligibility for so many students,” says Mary Gill, dean of enrollment management in the student services division of the California Community Colleges chancellor’s office. “We will work with policy-makers to identify resources that might be directed to assist these needy students in the future. For the moment, we will attempt to find other state and federal funds to help these students obtain their education.”
The special “September 2 Competition” was part of the new state financial aid effort established by last year’s landmark legislation that promised to triple the Cal Grant program’s budget to $1.7 billion by 2005. The most prominent piece of the new program, the guaranteed “entitlement” awards for students who met income criteria and achieved a specific high school grade point average, only applies to graduating high school students. Most community college students, who tend to be older, have to compete for a total of 22,500 awards per year.
Competitive Cal Grants are awarded to students based on a scoring system that considers family income, family size, parents’ education, single parent status, and other factors that indicate a disadvantaged background, in addition to the student’s grade point average.  



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