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State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > California > Edc > 69550-69551

EDUCATION CODE
SECTION 69550-69551



69550.  (a) It is the intent of the Legislature that California
students with financial need be made aware of the opportunities
afforded to them through the various state and federal financial aid
programs, including the Cal Grant Program established pursuant to
Chapter 1.7 (commencing with Section 69430).
   (b) Since the creation of the Cal Grant A and Cal Grant B
entitlement programs under Article 2 (commencing with Section 69434)
of, and Article 3 (commencing with Section 69435) of, Chapter 1.7,
efforts to provide information to students have been developed and
implemented by various organizations and institutions. However, there
is a need to consolidate, incorporate, expand, and improve these
programs as a statewide effort in order to ensure access to
workshops, information, and assistance.



69551.  (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
   (1) The Cash for College Program has successfully established
local regional partnerships that annually provide hands-on help in
filling out financial aid forms necessary to receive financial
assistance for college. This program was initiated by private
foundations and the Student Aid Commission in 2002 with the goal of
increasing the number of students who successfully complete the
financial aid process and enroll in college. In 2007, the Cash for
College Program succeeded in serving over 20,000 students and their
families in 44 of the 58 counties in California, thereby helping the
state to access tens of millions of dollars in federal Pell Grant
financial aid for low-income students and increasing the number of
students participating in the state's Cal Grant program.
   (2) The intersegmental cooperative nature of the Cash for College
Program has proved to be a highly effective mechanism to coordinate
existing services and to foster the cooperation of the various
educational segments, community, and business partners involved.
   (3) The Cash for College Program has been successful because of
the financial and volunteer contributions of local partners in
private business and industry, the financial aid, admissions, and
outreach communities, and student groups. Additional funding has been
provided through these local and regional partnerships, and through
one million five hundred thousand dollars ($1,500,000) in private
foundation grant funds that have supported the initial development of
the program, as well as funded local scholarships offered to
workshop participants who complete the financial aid process by the
state filing deadline.
   (4) The Cash for College Program has assisted high school and
community college students whose families were unfamiliar with the
financial aid process. The program focuses on assisting students and
their families who are first- or second-generation college-bound
students who have little or no access to college advising because of
limited resources at the schoolsite or the perception that college is
not an option.
   (5) The Cash for College Program seeks to provide all California
students who desire to attend college the opportunity to enroll by
providing tangible assistance in accessing the available state and
federal resources to make higher education possible.
   (6) A college or postsecondary education is a requirement for a
working wage job. The wage disparity between a high school graduate
and a college graduate is one million dollars ($1,000,000) over an
individual's lifespan.
   (7) California reflects the ethnic and cultural diversity of today'
s world. Evidence of this change is most pronounced within our public
elementary and secondary education system. As California continues
into the 21st century, there is no single group that represents a
majority of elementary and secondary enrollment. These changing
demographics present great challenges and great opportunities.
   (8) California must invest in higher education and in the future
of its young people so they can acquire skills and knowledge
necessary to continue the state's economic recovery.
   (9) The Cash for College Program provides access to the college
financial aid process for students of varied backgrounds and
socioeconomic status.
   (b) (1) Beginning January 1, 2008, the Cash for College Program is
established and is administered by the Student Aid Commission, in
partnership with private business and industry and local community
and educational organizations. The Student Aid Commission may
allocate funds for support of local Cash for College financial aid
workshop efforts that are designed to accomplish the following goals:
   (A) Targeted outreach to, and assistance for, low-income and
first-generation college-bound students with state and federal
financial aid applications.
   (B) Targeted outreach to, and assistance for, students who are
enrolled in schools or geographic regions with low college
eligibility or participation rates, with state and federal financial
aid applications.
   (2) The projects and organizations funded under this article shall
implement the following activities:
   (A) Organize and conduct free local and regional workshops that
help students and families to fill out the Free Application for
Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Cal Grant GPA verification form
required for Cal Grants.
   (B) Convene advisory board meetings to develop regional
partnerships with local partners in private business and industry,
admissions and outreach communities, and student groups, to foster
financial and volunteer contributions.
   (c) The Student Aid Commission shall, by December 1 of each year,
provide a report to the fiscal and policy committees of the
Legislature on the Cash for College Program detailing program data,
expenditures, and the findings of an independent evaluation on the
extent to which program goals have been met. Program data shall
include the number of completed FAFSA applications, the number of
submitted grade point average verifications, and the number of Cal
Grant recipients using their Cal Grant awards at California
postsecondary institutions.
   (d) The Student Aid Commission shall contract with an external
evaluator to conduct the independent evaluation.
   (e) (1) The commission may accept voluntary contributions or
donations in cash to pay for the costs of implementing the program
pursuant to this article. Voluntary contributions shall be deposited
into the Cash for College Fund, which is hereby created in the State
Treasury. Only moneys contributed or donated for the purposes of this
article may be deposited into the fund. The fund shall be credited
with all investment income earned by moneys in the fund. The moneys
received in contributions or donations for the purposes of this
article are not part of the General Fund as defined in Section 16300
of the Government Code. Voluntary contributions or donations are
special funds held in trust for purposes of meeting the purposes of
this article. Notwithstanding Section 13340 of the Government Code,
moneys in the fund from voluntary contributions or donations are
hereby continuously appropriated to the commission without regard to
fiscal year for the purposes enumerated in this article.
   (2) Additional funds may be appropriated in the annual Budget Act
for the purposes of this article.
   (f) (1) As used in this subdivision, "regional coordinating
organization" means a coalition of entities led by a designated
organization, which may include nonprofit organizations, local
education or other government agencies, or public or private higher
education institutions.
   (2) The Student Aid Commission shall allocate funds to regional
coordinating organizations to plan, coordinate, or conduct Cash for
College workshop series within specified regions within the state.
   (3) The Student Aid Commission shall require a regional
coordinating organization to contribute equal or greater resources to
match the Cash for College funds allocated to it by the commission.
Funds allocated to a regional coordinating organization under this
subdivision shall be based on demonstrated ability to contribute
equal or greater matching resources or funds. The Student Aid
Commission may require advance payment, if it determines that it is
necessary to ensure that funds provided pursuant to this article are
available each year before the start of the program.
   (4) The Student Aid Commission may partner with regional
coordinating organizations or other entities to facilitate additional
nonstate funding or donations of property, or both, for the Cash for
College Program.
   (5) Notwithstanding Section 11005 of the Government Code, the
Student Aid Commission may accept gifts of personal property without
approval of the Director of Finance.
   (g) The commission may use the moneys appropriated for the
program, including reasonable administrative costs, marketing, and
external evaluation. Administrative costs shall include appropriate
staffing to support the program, including, but not limited to, a
Cash for College coordinator. The commission shall annually establish
the total amount of funding to assist regional coordinating
organizations. Allocation of funds shall be established based upon
the best use of funding for that year, as determined by the
commission in consultation with a Cash for College statewide advisory
board that may include, but is not limited to, partners in private
business and industry, admissions, outreach communities, and student
groups.