Monday, June 4, 2012
Marty Block delivers the Assembly Democrats' Weekly Address
Transcript below. Audio here.
Contact: Maria Lopez 916 319 2078.
Hi, this is Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Marty Block.
This week one part - AB 1501 - of Assembly Speaker John Perez's Middle Class Scholarship Act passed with a two-thirds bipartisan vote in the California State Assembly.
This legislation seeks to make higher education accessible and affordable for every Californian by establishing the Middle Class Scholarship Program.
I am a proud coauthor of the Middle Class Scholarship Act.
The Middle Class Scholarship Act, has two parts: AB 1500 and AB 1501. The Act cuts college fees by 2/3 for students with family incomes less than $150,000 who do not already have fees covered by other financial aid.
The cost of the Middle Class Scholarship will be covered by closing a billion dollar tax loophole that only benefits out-of-state corporations.
Over the past decade, we have seen an enormous increase in the cost of higher education in California. Student fees at the UC have risen by 145 percent. Fees at the CSU have increased even more - by 191 percent.
Many middle income families turn to increased use of student loans to cover the thousands of dollars in fee hikes, resulting in a mountain of debt for graduates.
Even worse, some students give up on their dream and the state's promise of higher education altogether - about the most damaging thing possible for the long term health of our economy.
This situation is inconsistent with California's historic commitment to ensure that every student who is willing to work hard in high school would have the opportunity to attend a CSU or UC.
That commitment, made in the 1960's, has generated enormous prosperity and opportunity for Californians.
Enacting the Middle Class Scholarship will take a lot of work. But with enough support from students, parents, and all Californians who depend on an educated workforce, it can become a reality.
Under AB 1501, CSU students will save $4,000 per year or $16,000 over a four-year period.
UC students will save about $8,200 per year or nearly $33,000 over a four-year period. And Community College students will also see their costs reduced significantly.
We need the Middle Class Scholarship Act now more than ever, to help students with family incomes less than $150,000 cut their college fees.
The Middle Class Scholarship Act seeks to keep California's promise to our young people and restore the aspirations and opportunities for middle class families who have been hard hit by the recession.
So please, log onto MiddleClassScholarship.com.
Sign the petition. Share your story. Help make sure California keeps its promise of affordable higher education.
I'm Marty Block. Thank you for listening.