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March 8 Update: Sub Committee rejects Cal Grant Cuts

After a day of lobbying by nearly 200 students from private non-profit universities in California - including nearly 30 Pacific students - the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on March 7 unanimously rejected Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to cut Cal Grants by 44 percent.

Kristin Soares, the president of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities issued the following statement after the vote: 

"On behalf of the AICCU and our 74 member colleges and universities, I would like to thank Assembly Speaker John Perez, Chair Susan Bonilla and all members of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee #2 on Education Finance for their strong leadership and votes to reject the Governor's proposal to cut Cal Grants for students attending independent nonprofit colleges. In so doing, the Subcommittee upheld the fundamental tenant of the Cal Grant program-to provide access to ALL financially needy and deserving students. Their action sends a strong message that the California Assembly understands how vital the Cal Grant program is to the education of thousands of California students. The Subcommittee members clearly recognized the shortsightedness of these cuts as well. They sent a strong message that we as Californians must recommit and reinvest in developing a skilled and educated workforcefor a strong future economy."

While the Wednesday vote was a victory, the fight is still not over. The California Senate will hold a hearing on Cal Grants on April 19. What's more, despite the Assembly's rejection of his Cal Grant cuts, the Governor has vowed to keep them in his revised budget proposal, which he will release in May.

This fight is moving in the right direction, but we must keep working. Cal Grants fund about a third of Pacific's undergraduates, including 62 percent of our Latino students and 42 percent of our African American students. We must do everything we can to keep Pacific a diverse, intellectually exciting place.