Senator Janet Nguyen's Bill to Save the Middle Class Scholarship Clears Senate Education Committee

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Senate Bill 326, authored by Senator Janet Nguyen to protect the state’s only scholarship for middle class students from being eliminated from the state budget, cleared the Senate Education Committee. 

Senator Nguyen introduced SB 326 in response to Governor Brown’s plans to phase out funding for the Middle Class Scholarship to 75 percent of 2017-2018 levels, eventually eliminating the program in its entirety.  SB 326 will ensure that the Middle Class Scholarship will remain intact and continuously funded at its current levels.

“Since middle class families do not qualify for other forms of financial aid, the Middle Class Scholarship is one of the only programs available to help them finance their child’s education,” said Senator Janet Nguyen. “If this program ends, families may have to reconsider the future of their child’s higher education altogether.”

Established in 2013 and administered by the California Student Aid Commission, the Middle Class Scholarship has benefited tens of thousands of California undergraduate students. In the 2016-17 academic year, 56,104 University of California (UC) and Cal State University (CSU) students received this scholarship. 

The Middle Class Scholarship has become essential for many students whose family incomes are too high to qualify for Cal Grants, but too low to afford the full financial burden of the cost of a UC or CSU education.  Since the recession in 2008, tuition and fees for UCs and CSUs have, in some cases, more than doubled while costs for housing, food and books have also increased.  The annual cost for a UC education has reached $34,000.  

“It’s time to take a stand for California’s middle class families. SB 326 is the solution that would ensure the current Middle Class Scholarship is continuously funded, protecting the State’s promise to California students who do not qualify for most financial aid,” said Senator Janet Nguyen. “I am pleased that my Senate colleagues who serve on the Senate Education Committee have joined me in fighting for California’s middle class.”

In an effort to garner support for SB 326, Senator Nguyen has launched a petition to call on the Senate Appropriations Committee and Governor Brown to approve this bill. To date, SB 326 is supported by the California Student Aid Commission and has received bipartisan support and votes in the Senate. 

To sign the petition, please visit Senator Nguyen’s website at:
https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/SDInfo/einvites/SD34/169_Petition_to_Preserve_the_Middle_Class_Scholarship.html