California Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, has introduced a bill designed to increase students’ use of federal financial aid to assist in their college completion.
Assembly Bill 606 requires the California Community College Chancellor’s Office to establish a voluntary pilot program to increase students’ completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. By submitting a FAFSA, students have access to federal aid, and traditional community college fee waivers.
“Budget cuts have hit our student population in a devastating way, and it’s time to reverse course,” Williams said. “Many students are eligible for financial aid, but don’t receive it because they don’t know it’s available to them. We need to open up as many financial opportunities as possible to allow students to obtain their educational goals.”
Williams is hopeful that students who receive increased financial aid can focus less on full-time employment to make ends meet and more on school, grades and academic excellence.
Gov. Jerry Brown has identified the increased use of FAFSA as a way to save money and increase educational opportunities as part of his 2013-14 budget. Currently, many community college students apply for financial aid through a Board of Governors Grant, but don’t also apply for the FAFSA assistance.
The bill also allows the Chancellor’s Office to identify the reasons why some students do not complete the FAFSA.
— Josh Molina is a communications specialist for Assemblyman Das Williams.