New CA Law Grants up to $5,000 to Students Transferring to Historically Black Colleges

New CA Law Grants up to $5,000 to Students Transferring to Historically Black Colleges

Students attend the HBCU Love Tour Atlanta: Grammy U Masterclass at Ray Charles Performing Arts Center in Atlanta, Ga., on Oct. 10, 2022. (Terence Rushin/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

10/6/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

Gov. Gavin Newsom last week signed into law a bill that provides community college students who transfer to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with a one-time grant of up to $5,000.
Assembly Bill 1400, introduced by State Assembly Majority Leader Isaac Bryan (D-Los Angeles) in February, would provide such grants through the existing College Access Tax Credit Fund—a taxpayer fund that was intended to supplement Cal Grant B, a state higher education scholarship for low-income students.
The bill was signed into law by the governor on Sept. 30.
Because there are no such colleges in California, students will have to head out-of-state to attend one of the 102 HBCUs, located in 19 states mostly in the southeast United States, according to hbcufirst.com, a website that list locations nationally for such colleges.
However, Mr. Bryan said he hopes the grants provided by the state will create a “pipeline” that will ultimately make such transfer students return to California.
“By refocusing this support on students committed to returning to California after graduation, we will help build a valuable educational and economic pipeline from California to HBCUs nationwide—and back to California,” Mr. Bryan stated in a March Higher Education Assembly Committee analysis.
The bill was supported by the California Student Aid Commission—the state agency responsible for issuing some—academic financial aid—who said that federal tax changes in 2017 decreased revenue for the College Access Tax Credit Fund, and as a result, the fund no longer meets the demands of low-income students.
The College Access Tax Credit Fund was introduced in the 2014-15 school year to supplement Cal Grant B awards by leveraging federal tax deductions for charitable contribution—meaning taxpayers who donate to the fund will receive a tax credit worth 50 percent of their donation, according to a fact sheet by the U.S. Treasury.
“[This bill] would be a valuable tool in fostering an HBCU-California pipeline that helps further diversify those programs and related professions, as well as providing greater choice to our [community college] transfer students,” the commission, who also sponsored the bill, stated in a July Assembly analysis.
The new law is a step in the right direction, the commission said, because it focuses on a smaller group of students and raises award levels.
“[The bill] addresses both the College Access Tax Credit funding issues and another gap in California’s college affordability provisions by revising eligibility criteria to focus on a smaller population of student, substantially increasing award levels,” the commission said.
The bill was also sponsored by several other education groups such as the Campaign for College Opportunity, the Greater Sacramento Urban League, Initiate Justice and the Los Angeles Community College District. The bill had no recorded opposition as of Sept. 12.
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Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

Author

Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.

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