Cal Grants, the state-funded financial aid for California higher education students, could become much harder to obtain for new students under restrictions proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown as part of his 2012-2013 budget.
One of the most contentious of the restrictions would increase the minimum grade point average needed to qualify for the awards, which are a key part of the financial aid package for many students.
There are two types of grants under the program: Cal Grant "A" currently covers tuition up to $5,472 at Cal State universities, up to $12,192 at the University of California and up to $9,708 toward tuition and fees at private colleges. Cal Grant "B," for students with lower incomes, provides $1,551 for books, living expenses and tuition assistance, typically for students attending community colleges.
Brown is proposing to increase the minimum GPA requirement for Cal Grant "A" recipients from 3.0 to 3.25 and for Cal Grant "B" from 2.0 to 2.75. The requirements for community college transfers to qualify for the grants would jump from 2.4 to 2.75.
Brown is also proposing to lower the award amount for students attending private, nonprofit schools to the CSU level, which critics say could dramatically reduce opportunities for low-income students who are accepted to private schools such as USC. If more of these students opted instead for public schools, state expenses could increase because California would pay more to subsidize them.