August 25, 2000

Governor Approves Pacheco Bill that Guarantees Cal Grants Scholarships

Sacramento - Assemblyman Rod Pacheco (R - Riverside), Senate Bill 1644, the Vasconcellos - Poochigian - Burton - Ortiz - Pacheco Cal Grants Guarantee Program, has cleared another hurdle today as negotiations with Governor Davis have concluded. Governor Davis has indicated approval of this historic legislation. This bill will guarantee that every qualified student will receive a Cal Grant award to help pay for college. This measure will be sent to the Governor next week for his signature.

Historically only two of every five undergraduate students who qualify for a Cal Grant award actually receive funding because of resource shortfalls in the state-funded program. Cal Grants provide funds to those with the greatest financial need and who have demonstrated academic promise . Additionally Cal Grant B, which provides annual access funding for the lowest income levels, has not been increased in over a decade.

"Every qualified student deserves equal access to opportunities through higher education regardless of their situation. California has never fully funded Cal Grants resulting in thousands of deserving and qualified students being rejected each year." Pacheco stated. "Earlier this year I began working with Senators Burton, Ortiz, and Poochigian to guarantee Cal Grants which provide scholarships for college education. SB 1644 is the legislation needed to implement these laudable goals"

Senate Bill 1644 guarantees that every financially needy student who has demonstrated academic merit will receive a Cal Grant award to help pay for college. Additionally this bill will increase the Cal Grant B subsistence award by ten percent for California's neediest students. This measure will also provide funding for an outreach program to fully inform students of their financial options to encourage college participation. The Governor's fiscal concerns were alleviated by limiting the funding for re-entry students by capping the number of awards granted at 22,500. Current need is estimated at 15,000 awards.

"With this historic legislation, every child who has the desire and the need will now be able to accomplish a quality education. With his work towards guaranteeing Cal Grant Awards to students in need, Assemblyman Pacheco has helped to ensure a brighter future for all Californians." Commented Riverside Community College Board of Trustee member Kathleen Daley-Howe.

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