On Wednesday, the California State Aid Commission (CSAC) announced that only about half of the $107 million allotted to the new Middle Class Scholarship program was awarded. However, officials also announced they would extend the application deadline so more eligible students could receive the grant for the 2014-2015 academic year.
The Middle Class Scholarship was created to help middle class families send their children to college as the cost of higher education has continued to increase. According to Devon Graves, California State Student Association Chair and Commissioner at CSAC, tuition at the University of California and California State University has more than doubled in the last ten years. Therefore, students attending a UC or Cal State campus from families with annual incomes of $80,000 to $150,000 are eligible for the scholarship. The scholarship is awarded on a sliding scale and students could receive as much as $1,710 this year at a UC and $768 at a Cal State. Over the next four years, the amount will continue to increase until the full implementation of the scholarship. The scholarship will be fully implemented during 2017-18 when the scholarships will award up to 40% of the total fees at UCs and Cal States.
Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 94, the bill creating the Middle Class Scholarship, on Jul. 1, 2013. However, many students and their families had not heard about the new grant offered by the state. Calif. Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education, has “tasked the California State Aid Commission to improve their outreach efforts so no money is left on the table.” In return, the CSAC announced they would allow students to apply for the scholarship over the next few months. CSAC Executive Director Diana Fuentes-Michel said students should file no later than December for consideration for the scholarship this academic year. Students will receive a prorated amount if they are eligible for the Middle Class Scholarship.
New, transfer, and returning undergraduate students at the University of California or California State University may be eligible. In addition to the income requirement, students must be U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, or have AB540 status. In addition, students must be California residents, maintain satisfactory academic progress, not be incarcerated, and not be in default on a student loan. If students meet all of these requirements, they must also submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and ensure their GPA Verification is on file with the California State Aid Commission.