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Senate Bill 117 – Higher Education Trailer Bill
Senate Bill 117 provides various grants for Public Colleges and Universities.
Education Student Housing Grant Program
Existing law appropriates $1,434,133,000 for the 2022–23 fiscal year from the General Fund for the Higher Education Student Housing Grant Program, which provides one-time grants for the construction of student housing or for the acquisition and renovation of commercial properties into student housing for the purpose of providing affordable, low-cost housing options for students enrolled in public postsecondary education in the state.
SB 117, commencing with the 2023–24 fiscal year, requires specified funding previously allocated, or planned to be allocated, to the University of California, the California State University, and the California Community Colleges for construction grants under the Higher Education Student Housing Grant Program to instead be funded by revenue bonds issued by the University of California and the California State University, and local revenue bonds issued by Community College Districts. SB 117 requires any General Fund support for construction grants under the Higher Education Student Housing Grant Program provided to the University of California, the California State University, and California Community Colleges to revert to the General Fund. SB 117 eliminates the 2022–23 fiscal year General Fund appropriation for the Higher Education Student Housing Grant Program.
Learning Recovery Emergency Fund
Existing law appropriates $650,000,000 from the General Fund to the office of the Chancellor of California Community Colleges for transfer to the Learning Recovery Emergency Fund. The Chancellor’s office is required to allocate the funds in the Learning Recovery Emergency Fund to Community College Districts on the basis of actual reported full-time equivalent students, as provided. The Community College Districts were allowed to expend the funds for certain purposes related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including student supports, reengagement strategies, faculty grants, and professional development opportunities.
SB 117 authorizes the funds in the Learning Recovery Emergency Fund to be used for additional purposes and activities identified in the purposes and activities identified in subdivisions (b) and (c) of Section 55 of Chapter 54 of the Statutes of 2022 and subdivision (a) of Provision 2 of Item 6870-121-0001 of Section 2.00 of the Budget Act of 2022. These purposes and activities include scheduled maintenance and special repairs of facilities and efforts to increase student retention rates and enrollment by engaging former community college students who may have withdrawn due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
University Of California Scholarships from Non-state Funds
SB 117 extends the authorization for the University of California to provide scholarships as established by the university or a campus of the university, derived from non-state funds received for that purpose, to any of its enrolled students who meet the eligibility requirements for that scholarship from June 30, 2023 to June 30, 2027.
Additional Reporting Requirements for Community College Districts related to Basic Needs of Students
Each California Community College District campus was required to establish a position of Basic Needs Coordinator to assist students with on- and off-campus housing, food, mental health, and other basic needs services and resources, among other responsibilities, and to establish a Basic Needs Center where basic needs services, resources, and staff are made available to students, as specified, by July 1, 2022. Each campus is required to report certain information to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office including, but not limited to, descriptions of the services and resources provided by the Basic Needs Center, the socioeconomic and demographic backgrounds of students, challenges faced and best practices for implementing the services and resources and enrollment and graduation rates of students who utilized the services and resources. The Chancellor’s office is required to annually develop and submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature based on the data and information received from campuses and information on the use of funds made available to implement these provisions.
SB 117 amended Education Code Section 66023.5(c) to require each California Community College District campus to also report to the Chancellor’s Office, the number of students who first started receiving CalFresh benefits in the previous year, the total number of students in the previous year who received CalFresh benefits, whether the campus has a data sharing agreement with the relevant county operating the CalFresh program for the purpose of identifying new, continuing, and returning students who are potentially eligible for CalFresh benefits, or efforts underway to enact such an agreement.
California Student Housing Revolving Loan Fund Act
The California Student Housing Revolving Loan Fund Act of 2022 provides zero-interest loans to qualifying applicants of the University of California, the California State University, and the California Community Colleges for the purpose of constructing affordable student housing and affordable faculty and staff housing. The California Student Housing Revolving Loan Fund was established as a continuously appropriated fund in the State Treasury.
SB 117 appropriates $200,000,000 from the General Fund to the California Student Housing Revolving Loan Fund for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. SB 117 requires seventy-five percent (75%) of those funds to be available for University of California and California State University applicants, and the remaining twenty-five percent (25%) of those funds to be available for California Community Colleges. SB 117 also provides that the Legislature intends to appropriate $300,000,000 to the California Student Housing Revolving Loan Fund for each fiscal year through 2028-2029. The funds intended to be appropriated during those years will be made available to the three education agencies at the same rates.
Ortiz-Pacheco-Poochigian-Vasconcellos Cal Grant Program
The Ortiz-Pacheco-Poochigian-Vasconcellos Cal Grant Program provides awards to certain California postsecondary students to help pay the costs of postsecondary education.
Existing law sets the perimeters maximum Cal Grant A and B tuition award amounts for the upcoming award years.
SB 117 amends the parameters by setting the maximum Cal Grant A and B tuition award amount for new recipients in the 2023-2024 award year at $9,358 for students attending independent institutions of higher education. Beginning with the 2024–2025 award year, SB 117 sets the maximum tuition award amount as either $9,358 or $8,056, depending upon whether the number of new unduplicated transfer students accepted by those institutions who have been given associate degrees for transfer commitments in the prior award year exceeds statutory targets.
An otherwise qualifying institution with a 3-year cohort default rate that is equal to or greater than 15.5% is ineligible for initial and renewal Cal Grant awards at the institution, as specified, with certain exceptions. The Student Aid Commission is required to certify by November 1st of each year a qualifying institution’s latest 3-year cohort default rate and graduation rate as most recently reported by the United States Department of Education, except for the 2022–2023 and 2023–2024 academic years. Existing law requires the commission to use the 3-year cohort default rate certified in 2020 for an otherwise qualifying institution.
SB 117 requires the Student Aid Commission to also use the 3-year cohort default rate certified in 2020 for an otherwise qualifying institution for the 2024–25 academic year.
California Kids Investment and Development Savings (KIDS)
The Legislature enacted the Kids Investment and Development Savings (KIDS) Program in the 2019-2020 State Budget to expand access to higher education through savings. The Budget Act of 2019, among other things, appropriated $25,000,000 for the KIDS Program.
The KIDS Program requires the Scholarshare Investment Board to establish one or more Scholarshare 529 accounts for each California resident child born on or after July 1, 2022 and make a seed deposit of moneys from the California Kids Investment and Development Savings Program Fund into a Scholarshare 529 account established under the KIDS Program. The Scholarshare Investment Board is required to provide awards from these KIDS Accounts, as specified, for each recipient child’s qualified higher education expenses at an eligible institution of higher education.
SB 117 increases the amount of seed deposits in KIDS Accounts from $25 to at least $100, commencing with the 2023–2024 fiscal year. If a child has no account balance at the institution of higher education of attendance, SB 117 authorizes the institution to distribute funds received from the Scholarshare Investment Board for the child directly to the child for the purpose of paying the child’s qualified higher education expenses. SB 117 requires the Scholarshare Investment Board to use $8,000,000 of the funds appropriated in the Budget Act of 2019 for the KIDS Program to establish a statewide integrated marketing campaign for the KIDS Program.
Middle Class Scholarship Program
The Middle Class Scholarship Program (MCSP) is established under the administration of the Student Aid Commission. An undergraduate student is eligible for a scholarship award under the MCSP if the student is enrolled at the University of California or the California State University, or enrolled in upper division coursework in a community college baccalaureate program, and meets certain eligibility requirements. Existing law sets the MCSP award at an amount that equals the difference between the student’s cost of attendance and the sum of scholarships, grants, or fee waivers awarded to the student in excess of the $7,898 the student is expected to contribute from work earnings or other resources, and, for dependent students with a household income exceeding $100,000, a percentage of the parents’ contribution, as specified. Existing law sets the maximum amount of a student’s MCSP award based on a formula that considers the amount appropriated for the MCSP for the applicable award year.
SB 117 amends Education Code Section 70022 to also include additional forms of financial aid when calculating the student’s MCSP award amount. The new formula will also take into consideration the additional forms of financial aid, such as private grants and scholarships awarded to the student, and institutionally awarded emergency housing funds and other basic needs emergency assistance awarded to the student. SB 117 reduces the amount of a student’s MCSP award if the MCSP award, in combination with other grants or scholarships treated as estimated financial assistance or other financial assistance under federal regulations, exceeds the allowable gift aid under the federal regulations. SB 117 requires current and former foster youth to receive the full amount that they are eligible to receive under the MCSP, as specified.
SB 117 requires the Student Aid Commission to annually adjust the expected student contribution $7,898 based on the percentage change in the minimum wage, pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 1182.12 of the Labor Code.
Financial Assistance for Student Members on the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges
Existing law requires the members of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, including two (2) voting student members appointed by the Governor, to receive their actual and necessary traveling expenses while on official business and $100 for each day the member attends to official business.
SB 117 requires the office of the Chancellor of California Community Colleges, from funds appropriated for this purpose in the annual Budget Act, to allocate $4,000 in financial assistance per semester, or the quarterly equivalent, to each student member of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges for each year of the student member’s term.
Employment Opportunity Fund
In 2022, the Legislature established the Employment Opportunity Fund, administered by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, to promote equal employment opportunities in hiring and promotion at California Community College Districts. Under existing law, as a condition of receiving the funds from the Employment Opportunity Fund, each participating Community College District’s equal employment opportunity program was required to ensure participation in, and commitment to, the equal employment opportunity program by District’s personnel. Each participating Community College District is required, in the equal employment opportunity plan, to include steps that the District will take to eliminate improper discrimination or preferences in its hiring and employment practices and how the District will make progress in achieving the ratio of full-time to part-time faculty hiring, while still ensuring equal employment opportunity.
SB 117 amends Education Code 87102 to require California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to take certain actions to affirm each District’s compliance with the program. The Chancellor’s Office has identified Multiple Methods to promote faculty diversity. On or before January 1, 2024, the Chancellor’s office must create a process to verify each participating District’s proper implementation of strategies from the Multiple Methods.
SB 117 also requires the Chancellor’s Office, on or before April 1, 2024, to implement a policy to regularly determine the most effective and feasible best practices for participating Districts to promote faculty diversity under their equal employment opportunity plans. SB 117 also requires participating Districts to implement those strategies from the Multiple Methods as a condition for the receipt of moneys from the fund.
SB 117 also requires the Chancellor’s Office, on or before October 1, 2023, to implement a policy to verify that participating Districts conduct the demographic analyses of their employment processes required by Section 53023 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.
Community College District Annual Reporting on its Progress Increasing Faculty Diversity
Existing law requires the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges to adopt regulations regarding full-time faculty.
SB 117 requires each California Community College District to annually report to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office on its progress in increasing the percentage of instruction by full-time faculty and in increasing faculty diversity. The report must include, in addition to the information specified in Education Code Section 87891, the number of full-time faculty positions filled and maintained with the funds allocated for that purpose in the prior fiscal year, the percentage of the funds used in the prior fiscal year, and the cumulative total of the funds used and unused. Beginning on May 30, 2024 and each year going forward, the Chancellor’s Office must synthesize reported information into an annual system-wide report to be posted online.
The Chancellor’s Office must establish and implement a policy to verify that the Districts are using full-time faculty funding appropriated in a specific budget item of the annual Budget Act for the designated purposes and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. The policy, at minimum, must: require the Districts to submit evidence of fund expenditure, provide technical assistance and guidance to the Districts on best practices and compliance requirements, and report any findings of misuse, waste, fraud, or abuse of funds and take corrective actions, as necessary.
SB 117 requires the Legislature to be informed of any District that fails to comply with these provisions and each failing District would be subject to notice at a meeting of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges.
These reporting requirements related to increasing the percentage of instruction by full-time faculty and in increasing faculty diversity would only be applicable to Community College Districts as a condition of receiving funds for the purpose of hiring new full-time faculty appropriated in Item 6870-101-0001 of Section 2.00 of the annual Budget Act.
Strong Workforce Program
In 2016, the Legislature established the Strong Workforce Program (SWP) to enhance and expand career technical education. Sixty percent of the funds apportioned for Community Colleges under the Strong Workforce Program must be apportioned directly to the Districts in the consortia to fund regionally prioritized projects and programs that meet the needs of local and regional economies, including development of short-term workforce training programs focused on California’s economic recovery from COVID-19 beginning in 2020, as identified in regional plans and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (Public Law 113-128) regional plans.
SB 117 authorizes a Community College District to also use those funds apportioned directly to the Districts for providing funds for student grants to cover fees for third-party certification and licensing; enhancing student services to support retention, work experience, and job placement and providing students with an integrated educational program that connects academic curricula to applied and experiential learning in the workplace, including, but not limited to, work-based learning programs and models.
Student Success Completion Grant Program – Increased Awards for Foster Youth Students
California Community Colleges Districts administer the Community Colleges Student Success Completion Grant program to help offset students’ total cost of community college attendance. To qualify to receive a grant award, a student attending a community college must receive a Cal Grant B or C award, make satisfactory academic progress as set forth by the Code of Regulations, and be a California resident or exempt from paying nonresident tuition. Students meeting these qualifications are eligible to receive grant awards in the following amounts: $1,298 per semester; or the quarterly equivalent, for eligible students who enroll in 12, 13, or 14 units per semester, or the quarterly equivalent number of units or $4,000 per semester; or the quarterly equivalent, for eligible students who enroll in 15 units per semester, or the quarterly equivalent number of units.
Beginning in the 2023-2024 academic year, SB 117 increases the Community Colleges Student Success Completion Grant program award for eligible students who are current or former foster youth. These students are now eligible to receive $5,250 per semester, or the quarterly equivalent, if enrolled in 12 or more units per semester, or the quarterly equivalent number of units.
Budget Act Amendments and General Fund Appropriations
The Budget Act of 2021 made appropriations for the support of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges for the 2021–2022 fiscal year, including $2,347,663,000 for apportionments. SB 117 amends the Budget Act of 2021 by reducing the appropriation made to the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges for apportionments by $2,140,000.
The Budget Act of 2022 made appropriations for local assistance to the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges for the 2022–2023 fiscal year, including $5,798,825,000 for apportionments. SB 117 amends the Budget Act of 2022 by increasing the appropriation made to the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges for apportionments by $55,357,000. SB 117 requires, on or before June 30, 2024, Community Colleges receiving funds for this purpose to report to the office of the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges data, information, and conclusions related to increasing student retention rates and enrollment due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. SB 117 requires, on or before September 30, 2024, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to report to the Legislature and the Department of Finance based on the data, information, and conclusions received from those community colleges. SB 117 authorizes those Community Colleges to use the funds received to increase student retention rates and enrollment due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for additional purposes.
Existing law appropriates $840,655,000 in the 2022–2023 fiscal year from the General Fund to the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges for allocation to Community College Districts for certain purposes, including scheduled maintenance and special repairs of facilities, at community colleges. SB 117 reduces that appropriation by $500,013,000, adds support for childcare facility repair and maintenance, purposes related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and purposes related to discharge of unpaid student fees as purposes for which that money could be allocated, and appropriates $5,732,000 in the 2023–2024 fiscal year to the Board of Governors for allocation to Community College Districts for those same purposes.
Existing law establishes the Student Aid Commission as the primary state agency for the administration of state-authorized student financial aid programs available to students attending all segments of postsecondary education. SB 117 extends the March 2, 2024 application deadlines for financial aid programs administered by the commission by one month if the federal Free Application for Federal Student Aid is not available on or before October 1, 2023 for the 2024–2025 award year only.
SB 117 appropriates $2,500,000 from the General Fund to the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges for allocation to East Los Angeles College for the creation of a Small Business Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center.
SB 117 appropriates $500,000 from the General Fund to the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges for the office of the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges to enter into a memorandum of understanding with a third-party research institution to conduct a systematic study of online and hybrid course offerings at the California Community Colleges.
Existing law provides a formula for the calculation of general purpose apportionments of state funds to California Community Colleges under which the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s office annually calculates a base allocation, supplemental allocation, and student success allocation for each Community College District in the state, as specified. Existing law provides for an alternative calculation, based generally on the total computational revenue each Community College District received in the 2017–2018 fiscal year, cost-of-living adjustments, and changes in full-time equivalent student population, to ensure that the state allocates no less moneys to the Districts than would have been allocated under the previously generally applicable formula, as specified. SB 117 appropriates $141,040,000 from the General Fund to the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges to support apportionments to the Community College Districts pursuant to these provisions.
SB 117 appropriates $50,000,000 from the General Fund to the Office of the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges for purposes related to increasing student retention and enrollment due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and would authorize a community college to also use the funds for additional purposes, including scheduled maintenance and special repairs of facilities and additional purposes related to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
SB 117 annually appropriates, for the 2024–25 fiscal year to the 2028–29 fiscal year, inclusive, $60,000,000 from the General Fund to the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges to expand nursing programs and Bachelor of Science in nursing partnerships to grow, educate, and maintain the next generation of registered nurses through the community college system.
Certain funds appropriated by SB 117 are applied toward the minimum funding requirements for school districts and community college districts imposed by Section 8 of Article XVI of the California Constitution, as specified.
SB 117 took effect immediately as a bill providing for appropriations related to the Budget Bill.
(SB 117 amends Sections 17201, 32527, 66021.9, 66023.5, 67329.3, 69432, 69996.3, 70022, 70023, 71004, 87102, 87103, 88825, and 88931 of, and adds Article 11 (commencing with Section 87890) to Chapter 3 of Part 51 of Division 7 of Title 3 of, the Education Code, amends the Budget Act of 2021 by amending Items 6440-001-0001 and 6870-101-0001 of Section 2.00 of that act, amends the Budget Act of 2022 by amending Items 6870-101-0001 and 6870-121-0001 of Section 2.00 of that act, and amends Section 55 of Chapter 54 of the Statutes of 2022.)