At least 11 bills aimed this year to lower the cost of higher education in California. Here’s what happened to them and why.
It has long been a refrain among California students struggling to pay for housing, food and textbooks: There’s more to the high cost of college than tuition. Early this year, as state lawmakers convened, hopes were high that finally, California was listening.
Moved by reports of homelessness, food insecurity and consumer ripoffs on campus — and encouraged by a budget surplus and a new governor who’d talked often about the cost of education — legislators introduced a volley of proposals to help feed, house and protect students. At least two would have massively expanded state coverage of students’ costs of living.
“It’s been 20 years since we’ve had real change in the Cal Grant,” Assemblymember Jose Medina, the sponsor of one of the measures, said at the time, referring to the state’s financial aid program, and calling an expansion “overdue.”
But as the legislative session wound down and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a last flurry of bills this past weekend, Medina’s proposal and most others designed to tackle the cost of college had stalled.