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Write your lawmakers to stop restrictions on Cal Grant awards

May 24, 2017

We need your help to stop restrictions on Cal Grant awards that will hurt low-income students attending private, nonprofit institutions of higher education in California beginning next fall. Please write state lawmakers and ask that they maintain Cal Grants without restrictions that could create barriers to higher education for low-income students attending private, nonprofit colleges and universities such as University of the Pacific. If you need help getting started, please use part or all of the template letter below. Simply cut and paste the letter into a Word document and replace the brackets with the requested or suggested information before mailing or emailing it to state lawmakers. We thank you for your help.

Subject: Place no restrictions on Cal Grant for students attending a private, nonprofit institution
[DATE]
Dear [Assemblymember or Senator],

I am writing on behalf of University of the Pacific, where I am proud [to serve as a Regent; to have earned a degree in...; to be pursuing a degree in ...], to ask your help in stopping onerous conditions being added to Cal Grant funding included in the Governor's proposed budget.

Unless we take action, low-income students who choose to attend a private, nonprofit institution like University of the Pacific will see restrictions, timelines and goals attached to Cal Grant awards that could create barriers to them receiving a higher education. Essentially, it could be as harmful as the previous proposed 11.3 percent reduction in the grants, a financial burden that students and their families simply could not afford.

As you know, the Cal Grant program represents one of our state's most important, forward-thinking investments, and it offers an excellent return: At University of the Pacific, the four-year graduation rate among Cal Grant students is higher than that of their peers in the UC and CSU systems - and comes at much less cost to the state.

University of the Pacific students go on to become the innovative teachers, engineers, health professionals and other leaders who fuel California's success and entrepreneurial spirit. And more than one-third of them depend on Cal Grant assistance to realize their potential.

Take Mary Aguirre, José Hernández and Mary J. Wardell-Ghirarduzzi as examples. They all attended University of the Pacific through the Community Involvement Program, a comprehensive, need-based scholarship for first-generation college students from Stockton who have shown leadership, community awareness and involvement. Students must be awarded a Cal Grant to be eligible for CIP, so they each depended on that money to help pay for their college education. Today, Aguirre is a supervising deputy district attorney for San Joaquin County, Hernández is a former NASA astronaut, and Wardell-Ghirarduzzi is the vice provost for diversity engagement and community outreach at University of San Francisco. Without question, their contributions have been immense.

[This issue is close to my heart. If you have a personal story about the impact of Cal Grant assistance, please share it briefly here. You can discuss why you needed assistance to pay for college, or why you chose a private university like Pacific. Please also include details about your employment (or career aspirations) and what you've contributed, or hope to contribute, to the state.]

University of the Pacific is doing its part to keep higher education accessible. More than 85 percent of our students receive financial aid from the university, averaging $26,000. We depend on you and other state leaders to join us in meeting this challenge, which is so fundamental to California's growth and progress.

Please reject the restrictions attached to the Cal Grant award for students attending private, nonprofit institutions, and help ensure low-income students can attend the college or university that bests suits their needs and ambitions.

Yours respectfully,
[Name]
Class of [year of graduation]
[Home address]  

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