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The 2020-21 Budget: California Student Aid Commission


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[PDF] The 2022-23 Budget: Student Financial Aid

February 18, 2022 - This brief analyzes the Governor’s budget proposals related to student financial aid at the California Student Aid Commission, the Scholarshare Investment Board, and the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.

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An Analysis of New Cal Grant Eligibility Rules

January 7, 2013 - In response to concerns about the quality of some postsecondary institutions, California recently adopted new eligibility standards for colleges participating in the Cal Grant programs. The standards include a maximum student loan default rate and a minimum graduation rate. This report traces the history of these changes and assesses their impacts. We find that the changes, which primarily affect students at for-profit schools, are generally working as intended but have three notable drawbacks: (1) schools can manipulate the default rate, (2) the rules exempt some institutions without strong justification for doing so, and (3) the standards penalize institutions serving more disadvantaged students. We recommend exploring alternative student debt measures when the information needed to calculate these measures becomes more readily available. We also recommend applying the graduation rate requirement to all schools but modifying the measure to track the graduation rate only of Cal Grant recipients. In addition, we recommend taking into consideration a school's student characteristics to avoid creating a disincentive to serve disadvantaged students.

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California’s Options for Administering The Federal Family Education Loan Program

January 24, 2006 - The Supplemental Report of the 2005 Budget Act directs the Legislative Analyst’s Office to identify “the range of structural options available to the Legislature for providing the state with access to federally guaranteed student loan services,” giving special focus to the organizational arrangements used by other states. The language explicitly precludes us from recommending adoption of any particular organizational arrangement. Given this directive, in this report, we: (1) describe how states administer the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), (2) discuss the shortcomings of California’s existing organizational arrangement for administering FFELP, and (3) identify the range of organizational options available for administering FFELP.

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The 2019-20 May Revision: Analysis of the May Revision Education Proposals

May 15, 2019 - The May Revision contains more than 100 proposed changes to education programs. The changes range from large new policy proposals, to major modifications of January proposals, to small adjustments relating to revised student attendance estimates. In this post, we focus on the first two categories of proposals. The post has six sections. The first section provides an overview of the proposals. The next four sections cover specific proposals relating to (1) early education, (2) K-14 education, (3) the universities, and (4) financial aid. The last section covers library-related proposals and a crosscutting proposal relating to education innovation.

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The 2022-23 California Spending Plan: Higher Education

October 4, 2022 - This post summarizes the state’s 2022-23 spending package for higher education. It is part of our Spending Plan series. In this post, we provide a short overview of the state’s higher education spending package, then cover spending for the California Community Colleges (CCC), California State University (CSU), University of California (UC), student financial aid, student housing, and California State Library.

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The 2015-16 Budget: Higher Education Analysis

February 27, 2015 - In this report, we provide an overview of the Governor’s higher education budget. We then review the segments' performance in certain key areas and assess the degree to which the segments require enrollment growth funding, base funding increases, and facilities funding. We find the segments have improved performance in some areas but additional improvement is needed. We find little to warrant additional enrollment growth at UC and CSU, and available data indicate CCC likely will not use all the growth funding provided in 2014-15. We recommend against unallocated budget increases, instead recommending that the Legislature link base increases to a cost-of-living adjustment and any additional increases to specified state priorities. We review several facility proposals and make various related recommendations, including recommending the Legislature establish state facility priorities and require the segments to submit a report describing how they plan to eliminate their maintenance backlogs.

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[PDF] 2009-10 Budget Analysis Series: Higher Education

January 29, 2009 - The Governor’s budget proposal includes $11.5 billion in General Fund support as well as $5.7 billion in other core funding for higher education in 2009-10. The proposed budget would increase university fees by almost $300 million while it would reduce state financial aid programs by $88 million. It also could reduce higher education enrollment by tens of thousands of students. We offer alternatives that would increase funding for state financial aid programs, increase enrollment targets well above the Governor's levels, and better account for student fee revenue.

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The 2014-15 Budget: Analysis of the Higher Education Budget

February 12, 2014 - This report analyzes the Governor’s 2014-15 higher education budget. We continue to have serious concerns with the Governor’s approach to funding the universities, particularly as it significantly diminishes the Legislature’s role in key budget decisions and allows the universities to pursue segmental over state interests. We recommend the Legislature take an alternative approach that: (1) designates funding for specific purposes (including enrollment at the California State University and debt-service payments), (2) shares cost increases among the state and students, and (3) monitors the universities’ performance in specific areas (such as student success). We think the Governor’s approach to funding the community colleges is much better but recommend various ways for the Legislature to refine specific community college proposals. Most notably, rather than augmenting a single student support categorical program by $200 million, we recommend the Legislature consolidate seven student support programs into a block grant, thereby offering colleges considerably more flexibility in deciding the best ways to support their students.

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[PDF] The 2021-22 Budget: California Student Aid Commission

February 8, 2021 - This report analyzes the Governor’s major budget proposals for the California Student Aid Commission, including proposals to expand the Cal Grant program and increase financial aid application rates.

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[PDF] Overview of Student Loans

August 29, 2017 - Presented to: Select Committee on Youth and California’s Future and Assembly Committee on Banking and Finance

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The 2015-16 Budget: Major Features of the Adopted Plan (Higher Education)

June 19, 2015 - We have provided information on the major provisions of the budget plan passed by the Legislature on Friday, June 19. (It does not reflect potential gubernatorial vetoes.) We will provide a more comprehensive summary of the budget plan in our annual California Spending Plan later this summer.

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Streamlining State Financial Aid: Report on Cal Grant Alternative Delivery Pilot

December 5, 2011 - Legislation in 2009 authorized a pilot program whereby college and university campuses could voluntarily administer certain Cal Grant programs that are normally administered centrally by the Student Aid Commission (CSAC). The CSAC developed regulations for the pilot in time for the 2010-11 academic year. No campuses volunteered to participate, however, due to cumbersome program requirements. This report provides background on the existing delivery model for financial aid programs; describes recent proposals for alternative delivery models; and chronicles the development, implementation, and outcomes of the pilot program. The report concludes with our recommendation, drawing on numerous studies over the last two decades, to decentralize Cal Grants through a process that includes a planning period but no pilot phase.

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[PDF] Overview of Student Loan Marketplace

March 22, 2017 - Presented to: Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee

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The 2018-19 Budget: Grant Delivery System Replacement

March 6, 2018 - In this post, we analyze the Governor’s proposal to provide $7.4 million in 2018-19 for the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) to contract for a new Grant Delivery System. Below, we first provide background on the Grant Delivery System. We then describe and assess the Governor’s proposal and offer associated recommendations.