Maintaining access to an affordable higher education will be the focus of a Town Hall hosted by Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, May 17 in Room 102 in the OLD Student Union at California State University, East Bay in Hayward.
Wieckowski, a co-author of the Middle Class Scholarship Act introduced by Assembly Speaker John Perez, will describe how the legislation would reduce the cost of attending college by two- thirds for students at a CSU or University of California campus with family incomes of less than $150,000 who do not already have fees covered.
It is estimated that CSU families would save more than $4,000 a year and UC families would save more than $8,100 a year. Community college districts would receive additional assistance to alleviate costs for their students.
Each local district would have discretion to allocate the funds to best meet student needs, such as providing grants to cover books and transportation or expanding the use of fee waivers.
“All Californians deserve access to an affordable higher education, which is vital to the future economic success of our state,” Wieckowski said. “This legislation keeps the door to higher education open for middle class families and will allow students to strive to reach their full potential.”
The scholarships would be paid for entirely by closing a $1 billion wasteful corporate tax loophole that allows out-of-state corporations to elect to lower their California tax bill.
Reducing student loan debt is a priority for Wieckowski.
Earlier this year, he carried legislation to create a student loan default risk index and prohibit colleges with high student loan defaults from receiving Cal Grant funds. The bill demanded more accountability from for-profit institutions that are the worst offenders in saddling students with excessive loan debts.
“Student loan debt is now over $1 trillion in America and our students will be burdened by it for years to come,” Wieckowski said. “It puts a drain on our economy. The documentary “Default” tells the stories of borrowers from different backgrounds and how they are affected by the private student lending industry.”
Wieckowski will be joined at the forum by Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett.
The forum and documentary screening will be preceded by a 12:30 p.m. student rally at the Agora Stage featuring live music from a local DJ, free food and prizes.