BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 2520


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          Date of Hearing:  April 12, 2016


                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION


                                 Jose Medina, Chair


          AB 2520  
          (Rodriguez) - As Amended March 15, 2016


          SUBJECT:  Student financial aid:  Student Aid Commission


          SUMMARY:  Requires the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC)  
          to submit a report to the Legislature and the Governor by the  
          2017-18 academic year on measures to increase student  
          participation in state and federal financial aid programs.    
          Specifically, this bill:  


          1)Requires measures recommended by CSAC to include all of the  
            following:


             a)   At least one measure to ensure that each grade 12  
               California high school pupil receives adequate time and  
               faculty support to complete and submit the Free Application  
               for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) during a required course in  
               the first semester of the pupil's grade 12 school year.


             b)   At least one measure to address the barrier of a student  
               who is unable to access his or her parents' financial  
               information in order to complete and submit the FAFSA. The  
               recommended measure or measures shall include a  
               recommendation for a sample statement that the student can  








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               sign stating that his or her parents' financial information  
               provided in the FAFSA represents the best information  
               available to the student.


             c)   Other measures identified by CSAC.


          EXISTING LAW:  Establishes CSAC and requires CSAC to administer  
          California's student financial aid programs. (Education Code  
          Section 69400 et seq.)


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown 


          COMMENTS:  Purpose of this bill. According to the author, the  
          rising cost of a higher education is burdensome for anyone  
          planning to attend college, but for low-income students it is  
          particularly discouraging.  Although billions of dollars in  
          federal programs exists to help low-income students afford  
          college, many never receive assistance because they do not  
          complete the FAFSA.  In 2014, the Education Trust-West (ETW) did  
          an analysis of the FAFSA and Cal Grant application data from  
          CSAC and found that, while the number of completions increased  
          from the previous year, there is still a large percentage of  
          eligible students that did not apply for financial aid.  The  
          Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) also found only  
          33% of California community college students apply for financial  
          aid, compared to 46% in other states.  


          Issues to consider.  The author and Committee may wish to  
          consider the following issues and questions in reviewing the  
          reporting requirements of this bill:


          1)Existing recommendations available.  As noted by the author,  
            ETW has studied FAFSA and Cal Grant application rates in  








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            California; ETW has also made numerous recommendations to  
            improve those rates, several of which have already been  
            adopted in statute.  Numerous other researchers and advocacy  
            organizations, including TICAS, have also made recommendations  
            for improving FAFSA completion rates.  Is an additional report  
            necessary?  


          2)Other priorities for CSAC.  CSAC has testified to the Assembly  
            Budget Subcommittee No. 2 that it faces serious challenges in  
            regards to needed technology upgrades and data security  
            improvements.  CSAC is requesting funding to support  
            improvements in its grant delivery system.  Considering other  
            issues facing CSAC, is this report a priority for the  
            Legislature?   


          3)School district responsibilities. This bill would require one  
            of the measures reviewed and recommended by CSAC to include  
            time and faculty support provided in high school for FAFSA  
            completion.  Is it appropriate to direct CSAC, as opposed to  
            the Department of Education, to review and make  
            recommendations regarding school district FAFSA-related  
            activities? Should this bill move forward, the Committee may  
            wish to strike this specific provision from the scope of the  
            study.


          4)Authority over FAFSA income data requirements.  This bill  
            requires CSAC to make recommendations regarding the parental  
            income application requirements of the FAFSA.  The US  
            Department of Education, not CSAC, has authority over the  
            FAFSA and the disclosures and questions it includes.  Should  
            this bill move forward, the Committee may wish to consider  
            revising this provision.  


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:









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          Support


          Ready Nation (Sponsor)




          Opposition


          None on File




          Analysis Prepared by:Laura Metune / HIGHER ED. / (916) 319-3960