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Cal Grant Cuts: Impact for Students at University of the Pacific

The Governor's budget proposes a cut to higher education through a 44% cut to 26,000 Cal Grant recipients at California independent nonprofit universities. The proposal is to:

  • Cut the annual maximum Cal Grant from $9,708 to $5,472 (reduction of $4,236 or 44%)
  • Raise GPA requirements for new recipients of Cal Grant A from 3.00 to 3.25
  • Raise GPA requirements for new recipients of Cal Grant B from 2.00 to 2.75

This cut will prevent many academically talented but financially disadvantaged California students from attending independent nonprofit schools.  Some students will transfer to state schools, but many will have to drop out of college. Given the shrinking number of student spots in the UC and CSU systems, this is likely to decrease the overall number of students in California and will have an immediate negative economic impact on the state.

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office said, "We are concerned that the proposal to reduce awards for students at private colleges could reduce access for needy students while actually increasing state costs after the first year." (

How does this affect students at University of the Pacific?

  • More than 1/3 of Pacific's undergraduates (nearly 1,350 students) rely on Cal Grants.
  • They will lose $5.7 million in aid.
  • Pacific will do all that it can to help these students continue their education, but Pacific cannot fill in the gap.
  • A large number of students will have to leave Pacific. They will either drop out of college, or transfer to state universities (where there is little or no capacity for additional students).

Taxpayer-funded Cal Grants are far more efficient for students at independent nonprofit schools (like Pacific) than for students at public schools:

  • Independent nonprofits graduate their students faster than public universities, and at much less cost to taxpayers.
  • Independent nonprofits provide an additional $1.4 billion in financial aid for Cal grant students (a significant subsidy to California higher education)
  • For each student receiving a $9,708 Cal Grant, Pacific awards an average of $17,500 in additional institutional financial aid.
  • Cal Grants have NOT been increased in the past 10 years for students at independent nonprofits, but Cal Grants for public university students have increased almost every year.
  • Cal Grant dollars go directly to students, not to the institution that they attend.

Pacific is generous with financial aid, and has worked hard to keep costs down

  • Pacific awarded more than $50 million in financial aid in 2011-12
  • Cal Grant recipients get an average of $17,500 in additional aid from Pacific (making effective tuition about $18,200 for those students)
  • Independent nonprofit universities like Pacific serve the neediest students (avg. family income of $40,896 vs. $41,442 at UC schools)