Victory Against Proposed Cal Grant Cuts

March 16, 2012

If you haven’t seen the news yet, here is one of the results of getting a message across, loud and clear: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/07/california-students-protest-budget-cuts_n_1326997.html

I would like to thank every person who helped win this monumental victory, and encourage you all to keep fighting to reclaim education.

All 4 members of the Assembly subcommittee voted against the Governor’s proposal to cut the Cal Grants program by increasing GPA requirements, a decision which would render 30% of students ineligible for a Cal Grant.

Specifically, the proposal would have raised the GPA requirements for Cal Grant B from a 2.0 to a 2.75. Cal Grant B is specifically reserved for students in economically disadvantaged situations.

Essentially, this proposal would have forced full-time students into full-time jobs in order to pay for expensive textbooks and classes, encouraged them to take a heavier course load than they could handle in order to get done faster, and limited access in general to those that the community college system and affordable higher education was created to serve.

On March 5, there were undeniably many strong voices at the state capitol; while some were not necessarily linked to higher education, the overarching message was ours.

Hopefully, this incredible success will be recognized as more than just a victory for any single contributing party, whether it was the student activists meeting with legislators, the human face that the march added to the budget conversation, or the tangibility of student power and passion that day.

Such a labeling would do great disservice to the coalition of the student voice that Monday. This was a coalition that included both a voice inside, and the empowered voices of thousands outside, waiting to hear who they would and would not be voting for in an upcoming bid for office.

I have come to the conclusion that this is what representative democracy looks like when it is done right, and if the legislature needed a “wake-up call” to put things into perspective, they certainly got it last Monday.

Thank you all again for your part in this, and I hope that you maintain your passion for education and advocacy.

John Fraser
Vice President for External Affairs

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