For immediate release:
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SACRAMENTO – Yesterday, Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D – San Fernando Valley) introduced legislation to increase financial aid for California residents who are admitted to one of California’s public universities or colleges.  This legislation—which has been designated Assembly Bill (AB) 542—would expand the Competitive Cal Grant program by providing 3,000 new scholarships each year to California residents who demonstrate financial need and meet certain academic requirements.  According to the California Student Aid Commission, the Competitive Cal Grant Program is greatly oversubscribed and does not provide financial aid to thousands of California residents who meet the eligibility requirements.

In introducing AB 542, Assemblymember Gabriel made the following remarks:

“Ensuring that college is accessible and affordable for Valley families is one of my highest priorities.  This legislation will help ensure that the doors of opportunity remain open for students regardless of income or background.”

“For my family and so many others, California’s public higher education system was a ticket into the middle class,” Gabriel added.  “We must ensure that our young people have access to the education they need to secure good jobs and compete in a rapidly changing global economy.”

AB 542 has already received strong support from noted higher education leaders and champions of college affordability.

California State University Northridge (CSUN) President Diane F. Harrison said, “I applaud Assemblymember Gabriel for acknowledging the need to increase available Cal Grants to California’s most vulnerable students. These resources are critical, and often game-changing, to the success of the students we serve, here at CSUN and beyond.”

“We applaud Assemblymember Gabriel for introducing critical legislation that recognizes that the real cost of attending college goes far beyond tuition and fees.  This student-centered policy would provide additional financial aid to cover more of the talented, hardworking California students pursuing their college dreams,” said Jesse Ryan, Vice President of the Campaign for College Opportunity.

Assemblymember Gabriel serves on the Assembly Higher Education Committee and represents both CSUN and Los Angeles Pierce College, which collectively serve approximately 62,000 students.

Jesse Gabriel serves in the Assembly Leadership as Assistant Majority Whip. He represents the 45th Assembly District, which includes much of the west San Fernando Valley. Assemblymember Gabriel currently serves on the Committees on Appropriations, Banking and Finance, Higher Education, Housing and Community Development, and Privacy and Consumer Protection.