CLU students rally against Cal Grant cuts

Students from throughout state to descend on Capitol

Sophomore Jimena Jimenez, an accounting major from Los Angeles, is one of five CLU students who will rally at the Capitol on Wednesday.

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - March 5, 2012) Five California Lutheran University students will travel to Sacramento on Wednesday to protest a proposed cut to Cal Grant awards for students at independent nonprofit colleges.

The students will join others from throughout the state for the first-ever rally organized as part of the annual Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities Day in the Capitol. They will speak out against Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to cut the maximum Cal Grant award by nearly half for students at independent nonprofit colleges.

The participating Cal Grant students from CLU are freshman Emanuel Freede, a criminal justice major from Ventura; sophomore Mauricio Guzman, a computer science major from Camarillo; sophomore Jimena Jimenez, an accounting major from Los Angeles; senior Alisha Monroe, a business administration major from Los Angeles; and freshman Magen Sanders, a liberal studies major from Palm Desert. Elena Jaloma, director of student support services, and academic counselor Liz Ochoa will also attend.

The rally will be held at 11:30 a.m. on the west steps of the state Capitol. Cal Grant alumni, college presidents, faculty, trustees and community leaders will join the students in speaking about the benefits of the program.

Students also will participate in a morning briefing with legislators and share their stories with legislators and aides during private sessions. Several will testify before the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance.

Brown's proposal would cut the maximum award from $9,708 to $5,472 for students at nonprofit universities. The staggering reduction would take effect in fall, putting at risk the college educations of more than 30,000 students who are already attending universities or plan to enroll for the 2012-2013 year.

At CLU, 459 of the 2,700 undergraduate students are currently receiving Cal Grants totaling $4.3 million. Fifty-seven percent of these recipients are first-generation college students. The average family income for those receiving Cal Grant A is $42,171. CLU's Cal Grant students are an ethnically diverse group. Of those who stated their ethnicity, 46 percent are Latino, 37 percent are Caucasian, 6 percent are African American and 5 percent are Asian. Three percent identify as two or more races.

The California Legislative Analyst's Office concluded that reducing the maximum award for independent nonprofit universities could result in greater costs to the state if the students transfer to public institutions. On average, it costs taxpayers $24,000 to educate a Cal Grant student for one year at a University of California school and $11,750 at a CSU school. It now costs California an average of less than $9,200 a year for a Cal Grant student attending a private nonprofit university.