At a time when California’s economy needs more college graduates, a new PPIC report examines the role of grants and scholarships in making higher education both accessible and helping students graduate. Hans Johnson, the report’s author and PPIC Bren Fellow, talked about his findings at a briefing last week in Sacramento.
He found that although total financial assistance available through federal grants, Cal Grants, institutional aid, and private scholarships has increased, it has not kept pace with the actual cost of attending California State University and community colleges. These are the California colleges that enroll most low-income students in California—a state in which nearly 60 percent of K–12 students qualify for free and reduced price lunch programs.
“If we want the economic ladder to success to work in California, we need more students to go to and complete college,” he said. “And given our student population, a lot of those students will be from very low-income families.”
He recommended strategies to make college more affordable and accessible. They include directing any additional aid to low-income students and helping more students complete financial aid forms.