Students should rally behind the Middle Class Scholarship Act, a piece of legislation which will effectively curb corporate wealth and benefit public higher education.
It looks like multi-billion dollar companies Chrysler, General Motors, International Paper, Kimberly-Clarke and Procter & Gamble are preventing educational access, stirring up opposition to state legislation that would create a scholarship for middle-income college students. Their dissent is hardly a shocker: The Middle Class Scholarship Act, introduced by co-author and Speaker of the California Assembly John Perez (D-Calif.) in February, would raise corporate taxes on these companies to direct the money toward a middle-class scholarship program that would slash fees by two-thirds for families earning between $80,000 and $150,000.
Basically, it's the students versus the corporations, and we shouldn't let the state prioritize big business over education without one hell of a fight. Though the bill has broad bipartisan support in the state legislature, widespread student support is also crucial. Sign the petition, as per A.S. President Alyssa Wing's request below, and get involved.
Students making under $80,000 a year already receive extensive financial aid packages, but those coming from families making between $80,000 and $150,000 receive little help. Due to the burden caused by increasing student fees (UC fees have increased 145 percent since the 2003-04 school year), these students need all the help they can get. The Middle-Class Scholarship Act would effectively decrease student fees to what they were pre-crisis — lower than they were in that 2003-04 year.
But the act doesn't actually "raise" corporate taxes to do this — it's simply eliminating an unfair loophole. The Middle Class Scholarship Act consists of two bills — AB 1500 and AB 1501 — with AB 1500 eliminating a part of a 2009 budget deal that allows out-of-state corporations to choose the tax rate they owe California. AB 1501 would then establish the Middle Class Scholarship Program and allocate the money saved from AB 1500 to the program. The act would generate $1 billion in revenue, with approximately 42,000 UC students receiving a Middle Class scholarship to save $8,169 per year. About 150,000 CSU students will save $4,000 per year. Further, $150 million will be distributed to the California Community College System, to be allocated at the discretion of the individual colleges.
The elimination of the tax loophole will also help California businesses by leveling the playing field against these large, out-of-state corporations. Because of this loophole, out-of-state corporations gain about a billion dollars in tax advantages over the in-state companies they are competing with.
And the money from the act will go directly to students who qualify — not to the general UC fund, where it won't necessarily benefit students. But if student fees increase, under the fixed $1 billion budget of AB 1501, students would receive the same relief they got before the increase.
Basically, the Middle Class Scholarship would provide tuition relief, but it won't prevent tuition itself from going up. Herein lies the act's only real problem: It won't provide the relief it intends if the UC sees it as an opportunity to increase student fees without, seemingly, repercussions as large as they would have been before.
When it comes to the community college system, AB 1501 might not be the best possible relief either. Money toward community colleges shouldn't go toward tuition cuts, since, at about $1,500 a year, the colleges are usually affordable for middle-class students. In reality, living expenses tend to be higher than college expenses, especially when students can't even get into the classes they need. In the 2009-10 academic year, for example, close to 140,000 entering students were unable to register for a single course. But either way, the community colleges will be allowed to reduce fees however they see fit, whether it be through decreased course costs or cheaper parking permits. Though offering more classes would be the best solution, cost reductions would also be an undeniable relief to many.
While there are certainly other statewide needs the money from AB 1500 could go toward, we firmly believe that education should be a priority. For every dollar we spend on higher education, the state gets a $3 return on its investment. With the Middle-Class Scholarship Act we can effectively increase the number of students who can attend college, while also offering concrete, economic relief to families that will really affect their lives for the better — all while sticking it to the man (read: corporations). How perfect.
What do Chrysler, General Motors, International Paper, Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble all have in common? Besides being major, out-of-state corporations, they have banded together to create a deceptive campaign against California's middle class families by attempting to stop the passage of Assembly Bill 1500. The bill, which is a component of Speaker John A. Pérez's Middle Class Scholarship Act, would require these corporations to pay a uniform tax rate, rather than the current policy, which enables them to choose a lower tax rate.
Despite corporate America's opposition to the Middle Class Scholarship Act, young people from all walks of life, who attend private schools, CSUs, UCs and community colleges are uniting together behind the act, because it has the potential to benefit students across the state. This joint op-ed and our teamwork in advocating for this legislation is reflective of this unification, as it is authored by a Cal State student active in Democratic Party politics and a leader in UC Berkeley's student government and progressive community.
This unification is in response to the inherent need to revitalize our public higher education systems. The facts are simple: the state of public higher education in California is absolutely deplorable, as tuition rises exponentially and services are continually slashed. We stand in solidarity, opposed to the state's massive divestment from public higher education.
In reaction to the need for higher education reform, more than 10,000 students from all over California flooded the State Capitol on March 5 to stand up for our right to an affordable higher education. Just days after the march, a state Assembly panel voted to reject further cuts to the Cal Grants program. Students, such as ourselves, who lobbied legislators to reject cuts to Cal Grants, heard those same legislators use the same arguments we presented them in the committee hearings. The decision to reject cuts to Cal Grants is an example of the success and political clout California's college students can carry.
At a broader level, we believe that our best shot at changing course is increasing affordability and access to higher education. By closing a wasteful corporate tax loophole, the Middle Class Scholarship Act will reduce fees in the CSU and UC systems by two-thirds for students with family incomes of less than $150,000 that do not already have their fees covered.
However, some out-of-state-corporations are unsurprisingly mobilizing against the scholarship, rejecting any alteration of their tax rate. In fact, the corporations behind the attack on the scholarship are known for being unscrupulous. According to Consumer Watchdog, some of the corporations working against the Middle Class Scholarship Act are among the top U.S. tax evaders.
Despite opposition, closing the loophole so that out-of-state corporations don't get to pick their preferred tax rate has broad bipartisan support in the California state legislature and from California businesses, as it would equalize the playing field for businesses while generating about $1 billion in revenue to help middle-class families.
As dissatisfaction with our public higher education systems continues to grow, the tides have finally begun to turn in Sacramento. Recently Nathan Fletcher, a Republican state legislator representing San Diego, decided to dump the Republican Party. This decision bodes well for the Middle Class Scholarship Act, which to pass, must be supported by two-thirds of our state legislature. Upon his departure, Fletcher remarked that he is fed up with the partisanship and "petty games," indicating that increasingly our state is exhausted by inaction and wants to bring about real change.
We urge you to join your fellow college students across California as we continue to advocate for the Middle Class Scholarship Act in the wake of corporate America's attacks. If we can convince our state lawmakers to pass this legislation, we will prove that student voice is valuable and more important than corporate interests. Students should share their higher education stories and sign the Middle Class Scholarship Act petition. Together we can ensure that UCs, CSUs and California community colleges are accessible and affordable for all Californians. Together, we can do anything.
Andrew Albright is an ASUC senator. Paul Murre is the president of the California College Democrats.
About 150 students rallied in an attempt to cut up to two-thirds of tuition for middle class students Thursday in Trinity Commons.
The rally, called Make it Matter, centered on the Middle Class Scholarship Act, which proposes cutting tuition for families making between $30,000 and $150,000, said Marty Block, chair of the Higher Education Committee.
The bill would save students about $4,000 per year and $16,000 over the students' four years in the California State University system, he said.
"These are dollars that will make a difference," Block said.
Chico State President Paul Zingg, who introduced the keynote speakers, lamented the lack of investment in higher education from the state.
The act is about "not just stopping cuts but reinvesting in higher education," he said.
Committee and organization funds have been cut, but financial issues continue throughout the CSU system.
Enrollment dropped, tuition went up and money is still being lost, said Jillian Ruddell, a non-voting CSU student trustee and senior multicultural and gender studies major.
Student clubs and organizations attended to show support.
The Community Legal Information Center, the Gender and Sexuality Equity Center and the Cross-Cultural Leadership Center offered pamphlets and fliers with information about their organizations and student involvement on campus.
The event reached out to plenty of students, said Erik Taylor, Associated Students director of legislative affairs.
"A lot of students learned more about the scholarship act, and they are pumped now," he said.
There do not seem to be many drawbacks to the proposed act, Taylor said.
"The sole purpose is to help the middle class students," he said, "and for those who think it is bad, who might try to find some things bad in it, is just a blatant attempt to continue to defund higher education."
The event, which was coordinated by A.S., was well received, said Elyse Gutowski, A.S. executive vice president.
"It had a very positive impact on our campus," Gutowski said. "It is important to see someone was trying to make a difference."
Students can sign the petition at MiddleClassScholarship.com and upload videos stating why this act matters to them, Block said.
"You can make it matter by taking part in these activities," he said.
There aren't many big ideas coming out of Sacramento these days, so it takes awhile for the magnitude of Assembly Speaker John Pérez' middle-class scholarship proposal to sink in.
For about 200,000 college students in California who are the sons and daughters of middle-class families, Pérez has a plan that would cut their fees by two-thirds, rolling back the cost of attending a public university to 1990s levels. Over a four-year course of study at a University of California campus, that would reduce the cost of a college education by more than $32,000.
In one swoop, Pérez proposes to wipe out a decade-long attack on a once-cherished principle that helped fuel California's economic growth for generations — the availability of first-rate, affordable higher education.
His plan would turn back the clock on increases that have seen UC fees jump by 145 percent and California State University fees soar by 191 percent since the 2003-04 academic year.
"We have moved significantly away from our historic promise of affordable and accessible higher education," Pérez told me on Tuesday.
As I wrote in this space last fall, here's what a difference that escalation has made: Public policy in California today treats today's generation as half important as the last.
In inflation-adjusted dollars, a 40-year-old UC graduate paid $17,271 for his or her college education, as taxpayers subsidized 78 percent of the actual cost. Today's 20-year-old UC student will pay $41,984, with taxpayers subsidizing 47 percent of the actual cost.
As a consequence, today's students are taking on ever-larger debt.
Just this week, the total amount of student loan debt nationally topped $1 trillion.
"That has a stifling effect on economic growth," Pérez said.
He told me the genesis for his big idea came from an unannounced visit to UC Davis to speak with students last fall shortly after a pepper-spraying incident brought national attention to protests there.
Pérez came away persuaded that the runaway cost of attending college had become a crisis.
He thought back to a legislative defeat earlier last fall involving a proposal designed "to fix the problem of disparity" that results from large corporations being able to choose the formula used to calculate their state tax liability.
That proposal, which passed the Assembly but failed in the Senate, would have established a single formula and resulted in $1 billion in additional tax revenue that would have been used to provide tax breaks for in-state manufacturers, small businesses and low-income individuals.
The idea of establishing hefty scholarships for middle-class college students, he says, came to him as a way "to solve multiple problems at the same time."
Targeting the relief for middle-class students — those from families with incomes from $70,000 to $150,000 — made good sense, he said, because CalGrants for students from lower-income families have offset the effect of fee increases.
"Why target middle-class students? Because that's who's getting squeezed," he said. "The people getting hurt the most are the folks who saved up and had a plan in which they thought they could educate their kids."
In recent weeks, Pérez, D-Los Angeles, has promoted this plan in visits to college campuses. On Tuesday night, he participated in a teleconference with students around the state.
It's not at all clear that Pérez or the students will get what they want.
Although there are good arguments, supported by many California-based corporations, for changing the tax formula to a single system that does not perversely favor out-of-state competitors, the idea is not universally supported.
Many large and powerful corporations oppose it. In addition, Republican lawmakers who fought for the optional formula in 2009 don't want to see that deal undone. And it would take a two-thirds majority vote to do it.
If the money were to be used for middle-class scholarships, however, some GOP lawmakers might have to think hard about the trade-off. After all, a sizable percentage of families with incomes from $70,000 to $150,000 live in Republican, not Democratic, households.
Even if the vote threshold could be reached, there are other ideas about how to spend $1 billion in new revenue — especially at a time when about $10 billion in cuts are needed.
Pérez acknowledges there are competing demands, including minimizing cuts in Medi-Cal and subsidized child care.
Could there be room to carve out money for other causes and still leave enough for substantial middle-class scholarships? Ever the negotiator, he responded as he always does to such questions: "All options are on the table."
Cutting college costs by a half or even a third? Not as big, but still a big idea.
Within the past decade, students studying at California's public colleges and universities have endured continuous fee hikes. The ever-expanding amount that our state's best and brightest must pay has made higher education an enormous financial strain and, unfortunately for some students, a dream too distant to attain.
These are no small fee increases.
Currently, costs to attend the California State University (CSU) have risen 191 percent since the 2003-04 school year. Where a family used to be able to pay $2,026 to send a student to a local CSU, they now must pay $5,970 every year. At the University of California, things are just as bad. A student is now expected to pay $12,192 per year, a jump of 145 percent from the $4,984 a student would have paid in 2003-04.
What is most disturbing is that when these public institutions were first established, classes were free.
Speaker of the Assembly John A. Pérez has introduced AB 1500 and AB 1501, the Middle Class Scholarship Act that will reduce college fees by two-thirds, making college education more affordable for middle-class families.
Students whose families earn an income of $150,000 or less and do not have any tuition fees already covered will qualify for this scholarship. Approximately 150,000 CSU students will receive a Middle Class Scholarship, saving families $4,000 per year. 42,000 UC students will save $8,169 per year. Further, the Middle Class Scholarship Act will also benefit CCC students, where an additional $150 million will allow the districts to have local discretion as to how best to alleviate costs.
The real beauty of this plan is that it corrects a situation that unjustly rewards businesses for keeping employees out-of-state.
As such, the Middle Class Scholarship Act will be funded by modifying the single sales factor corporate tax formula, which will pull back this benefit and level the playing field for California businesses making an effort to keep jobs in our state.
AB 1500 and AB 1501 will benefit middle-class families and California businesses. It will ensure that future college graduates are not saddled with huge debt that prevents them from buying a home or otherwise contributing to the local economy.
The Middle Class Scholarship Act will go a long way toward helping the middle class and local businesses recover from the lingering effects of the Great Recession.
You can help support these bills by signing an online petition at the website www.middleclassscholarship.com.
College can be affordable again. Please join me in making it happen.
Luis Alejo represents the 28th District in the California State Assembly, which consists of San Benito County, the Salinas Valley, North Monterey County, South Santa Clara County and the city of Watsonville.
State legislation to create a scholarship for middle-income college students has stirred up opposition from large corporations in recent weeks.
The act, which was co-authored by Speaker of the California Assembly John Perez (D-Los Angeles), would raise corporate taxes on companies and direct the money toward a middle-class scholarship program.
Several companies, including Chrysler, General Motors, International Paper, Kimberly-Clarke and Procter & Gamble, recently formed a coalition to oppose the legislation. The coalition, California Employers Against Higher Taxes, argues that the act could lead to fewer jobs in California, because companies will have less incentive to operate in the state, said Peter DeMarco, spokesman for the coalition.
On Friday, Perez and assemblywoman Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) visited UCLA discuss the Middle Class Scholarship Act with students as part of a panel discussion hosted by the UCLA Community Programs office and the Undergraduate Students Association Council's External Vice President's office.
"Students are faced with historic amounts of debt, and this is the greatest opportunity we have to make a real effort in changing that," Perez said during the panel discussion.
He acknowledged the opposition from companies at the event, saying that the companies should recognize the legislation as an investment in the future.
The Middle Class Scholarship Act, which was introduced in February, would be created through two bills – AB 1500 and AB 1501.
AB 1500 would raise corporate taxes on companies operating in multiple states by eliminating a part of a 2009 budget deal that allows corporations to choose a more favorable formula for calculating their taxes.
The tax law was put in place at the height of the recession in 2009 by a bipartisan vote by the legislature, said DeMarco, who attended the panel. As the law just recently went into effect, the companies have not yet seen the impact of the law, he said.
The second component of the act, AB 1501, would establish the Middle Class Scholarship Program and allocate the money saved from AB 1500 to the program.
The act is projected to generate $1 billion in revenue, $150 million of which will be distributed the California Community College System and the remainder to the UC and CSU, Perez said.
Proponents of the legislation anticipate the act will reduce tuition fees by two-thirds for families making less than $150,000 a year in the University of California, California State University, and some community college systems. The act is expected to impact about 42,000 UC students, said Ronald Johnson, director of financial aid at UCLA.
If passed, the act would not change the funding going into the UC system, but the amount of tuition students would have covered by the university, said Judy Heiman, principal analyst for the California Legislative Analyst's Office.
The legislation requires the UC to continue paying the same percentage of tuition for middle-class students who qualify for the scholarship regardless of any future tuition rises, Heiman said.
She added that this could become a constraint on the UC.
"This could potentially become difficult for the UC because as tuition (might) rise, the two-thirds proportion of (tuition) they will have to pay for students who qualify for the Middle Class Scholarship will also rise," Heiman said.
DeMarco also said the multi-state corporations involved may have less incentive to stay in California if the bill passes, which could reduce the number of middle-class jobs for Californians.
"We want students going to school in California to be able to stay in California, not have to go out of state to look for jobs because of an anti-business climate in Sacramento," DeMarco said. "Jobs are the most important thing for students when they graduate. This bill does not deliver that promise."
Johnson, however, said he anticipates the state to benefit from the act, in the scenario where students who graduate with less of a debt burden can find jobs and remain in California.
"I seriously doubt that corporations who are here would leave after having to pay a slightly higher tax," Johnson said.
He added that he hopes the funding source is permanent and reliable rather than distributed on an appropriation basis, which he said could potentially undermine existing scholarship programs.
Joelle Gamble, external vice president of USAC, said she sees this act as an immediate, rather than long-term, solution to the problem of college affordability.
"This is one good step in that direction, but it's not the overall solution," she said.
At the event, Perez said he is relatively confident the act will pass in the assembly, but thinks it will be more of an "uphill battle" in the Senate.
And Johnson said the state's economic instability may make it harder to pass the proposed legislation.
Both bills will be reviewed by Assembly committees in early May, said Max Espinoza, who serves on Perez's staff. The bills would then be submitted to the Assembly Appropriations Committee and passed by the Assembly and Senate in the summer.
Both must pass in order to take effect, Espinoza said.
CHICO — It was easy for Assemblyman Marty Block to get Chico State University students chanting, "Fund the students first!" this afternoon.
But Block, a San Diego Democrat, admitted getting Republican legislators to join the chorus will take some doing.
Block spoke to students at Chico State, promoting two Assembly bills which make up what's being called the Middle Class Scholarship Act.
He said the idea is to close a tax loophole that lets out-of-state firms, mainly tobacco companies, avoid paying about $1 billion in sales tax each year.
Assembly Bill 1500 would close the loophole. Assembly Bill 1501 would direct that the $1 billion go for scholarships for middle-class university students and other forms of help for community college students.
Block spoke to students and others on Trinity Commons at the Chico State campus. He said he's appeared in support of the bills at several university campuses.
He said students from wealthy families can afford to pay today's higher tuition, and low-income students have ample financial aid available.
It's the students from middle-class families who are having the hardest time paying the cost of a college education, he said.
The so-called Middle Class Scholarship would go to students whose families make less than $150,000 a year and who do not have their tuition covered by financial aid.
If the bills pass and become law, about 150,000 California State University students would receive scholarships, saving more than $4,000 a year. About 42,000 University of California students would get scholarships, saving up to $8,169 per year, according to the website www.MiddleClassScholarship.com.
Community colleges would receive $150 million to provide various kinds of financial help to students, such as assistance buying books.
Block said passing AB1500 and AB1501 is a top priority for Assembly Speaker John Perez.
It will take two-thirds votes in both the Assembly and the Senate to pass the bills, he said, adding that means two Republicans in each house will need to vote for the measures.
Block acknowledged it will be a tough sell to Republicans, who vehemently oppose raising taxes.
"I think we'll get two Republican votes in the Assembly. There are four or five (Assembly Republicans) who realize how important this is," he said. "I'm less confident about the Senate. But ultimately I think we'll get the votes."
Block urged students to sign petitions, available on the Internet, and he invited them to attend the bills' first hearing on May 1 before the Assembly Higher Education Committee. Block chairs that committee.
"You need to join this fight," he told the students. "You need to make it matter."
Tuition has gone up at the state's universities as the Legislature has cut their funding. Block said the worldwide economic slump has meant less tax revenue has flowed to the California government. Four years ago, when he first came to the Assembly, $125 billion was available to pay for things like public safety, higher education and health and social services. Now there's $85 billion. That's made tough choices necessary, he said.
Chico State student Jillian Ruddell, a student member of the CSU board of trustees, also spoke at the noon-hour rally.
She said this generation of students "will be responsible for the success of the state."
She called for activism, saying "427,000 students in the CSU, along with faculty and staff, are an unstoppable voting force."
California State Assembly speaker John A. Pérez has recently been receiving massive college student support for his proposed Middle Class Scholarship Act, which aims to slash state college fees by two-thirds.
Ever since Pérez introduced his plan to the State Assembly in February, he has been traveling to different college campuses and sending out press packages soliciting support for the act with positive results.
On March 5, an estimated 10,000 protesters made up of UC students marched to the State Capitol in Sacramento as part of the 10th Annual UC Student Lobby Conference to lobby the passing of the act's two Assembly Bills, the AB 1500 and the AB 1501. The former closes the Single Sales Factor loophole and redirect funds into the Middle Class Scholarship Fund, while the latter establishes the Middle Class Scholarship program to distribute the funds.
"We need to close the Single Sales Factor loophole," Perez said. "Too many out-of-state companies can choose their own tax rates for California."
In addition, the SLC also advocated for the Working Families Student Fee Transparency and Accountability Act (AB 970) and Same Day Voter Registration (AB 1436).
The act intends to address the Single Sales Factor tax loophole and redirect the revenue lost to out-of-state corporations into the Middle Class Scholarship program, which provides scholarships for students in the California State University and University of California systems as well as funding for California Community Colleges.
The target recipients are students whose family have an income of less than $150,000 but do not qualify for any kind of financial aid.
"With the collapse of our economy, we have made our colleges and universities more expensive and less accessible," Pérez said. "The Middle Class Scholarship Act intends to turn that around."
California Community Colleges students will not receive direct scholarships, but $150 million will be allocated to the CCC system to alleviate its financial burden in order to reduce costs for students, according to Pérez.
"The average UC student will save about $8,200 a year," Pérez said. "For CSU students, they would save approximately $4,000 per year."
In order to pass, the corresponding bills require two-thirds votes from each house of the California State Legislature.
If the act passes, California will join 23 other states that do not have this tax loophole.
The Single Sales Factor allows out-of-state corporations to enjoy large tax breaks even if they only have a small number of employees or very little involvement in California.
A new scholarship proposal is aimed to keep the cost of college affordable for middle-income families by eliminating out-of-state corporate spending.
Proposed by California Assembly Speaker John Perez, the Middle Class Scholarship Act would reduce tuition at California's public colleges, making it affordable for middle-class families.
"The California Middle Class Scholarship Act is very simple," Perez said in a video posted on the Middle Class Scholarship Act website. "Too many families are getting squeezed out of higher education. The Middle Class Scholarship Act reduces fees at UC system and the CSU system by two-thirds, giving tremendous assistance to those families to make college affordable again."
Assemblyman Richard Pan, who is a sponsor of the bill, spoke at a Cosumnes River College about the act in front of more than 100 students on March 28. He told students that the act will have a positive impact.
"Why should we reward corporations who move jobs out of California?" said Pan, who was in charge of the event. "This [act] will put $150 million into the community college system."
The $150 million would increase fee waivers or provide grants to cover the costs of books, transportation or other educational expenses. The act aims to slash college fees by two-thirds for all students with a family income less than $150,000, according to a brochure about the Middle Class Scholarship Act distributed by Pan.
"I think that it will definitely help kids who can't afford college, afford it," said Justin Henry, a 29-year-old communications major.
The act will close a $1 billion corporate tax loophole that allows out-of-state corporations to have lower California taxes, according to the brochure.
Communications professor Colette Harris-Mathews supported the event and the act.
"It's important to have this civic engagement," Harris-Mathews said. "We have to do something to fund community colleges and make community colleges more available to students."
While the majority of the students in attendance were in favor of the act, there were some students that were not so quick to support the act.
"I'm just a little bit skeptical of it because while I'm all for pushing education in California, we're just kind of faced with this grim reality that we are $13 billion in debt in just California alone," said Michael Lindsley, 21, a computer science/mathematics major. "Stuff like this, I don't just go up and sign it."
While not every student was in favor of the act, there was no denying the passion they felt about improving community colleges.
"We are at a time where we need to redevelop our community," said 22-year-old undeclared major Natasha Sanders. "It takes hard work and effort to make things better."
SACRAMENTO – In this Democratic weekly radio address, Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) visit the UC Berkeley campus to talk with UC, CSU and community college students about the Middle Class Scholarship Act (AB 1500 and 1501), which will cut state college costs by two-thirds for middle class families. The plan is paid for by closing a tax loophole benefitting out-of-state corporations and would benefit students whose families make less than $150,000 per year.
For more information on the proposal, go to www.MiddleClassScholarship.com.
This week's English address is 4:15
This week's Spanish address is 5:58
Website of Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez: http://asmdc.org/speaker/
Website of Assemblymember Nancy Skinner: www.asmdc.org/skinner
Announcer: In order to make college more affordable and accessible, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and Assemblymember Nancy Skinner met with UC, CSU and Community College students at UC Berkeley to discuss the Middle Class Scholarship Act, a bold plan that would cut college fees by two-thirds for middle class Californians.
As the Speaker explained, the plan is paid for by closing a tax loophole.
Speaker Pérez: “From 2009, because passing a budget required a super majority, there was an extraction made to create a tax loophole that only benefited out-of-state corporations and it put in-state companies at a competitive disadvantage and denied us over a billion dollars a year in revenues.”
Announcer: While that loophole was carved out Middle Class families, already hit hard by the Recession, faced fast rising college fees.
Speaker Pérez: “We know that from 2003/2004 from that academic year until now fees at the CSU system have gone up 191 percent. We know from that same point in time, fees at the UC system have gone up 145 percent and we know that community colleges have gotten more expensive as well.”
Announcer: Forcing students and their families to take on mountains of debt.
Speaker Pérez: “That limits your productivity. It limits your ability to live every dream you have. It limits the ability of young people to be as creative and entrepreneurial as they can be to develop the new technologies and new ideas of the future. It hurts all of our economic prosperity to burden students with huge amounts of debt.”
Announcer: Speaker Pérez and Assembly Democrats saw these problems and realized the Middle Class Scholarship Act is the solution.
Speaker Pérez: “So we tried to look at different ways that we could address this loophole and figure out what we could do that made the greatest impact in the long-term economic future of the state. And we know that the greatest investment we can make is making college affordable.”
Closing the loophole will bring in revenue that will allow the state to make higher education affordable again.
Speaker Pérez: “We take the first $150 million and send it to the community colleges, and then we take the balance and we use it to create affordability for everybody at UC and CSU—and we use it to reduce fees by two thirds for anybody whose family makes $150,000 a year or less. That’s 88 percent of our students at CSU. It’s almost 80 percent of our students at UC.”
The savings for those tens of thousands of middle class students and their families will be dramatic.
Speaker Pérez: “At CSU it takes the fees from $5,970 a year to $1,970: $4000 a year savings, $16,000 over the course of four years. At UC it will take for these students’ fees down from just over $12,000 to $4,000 with savings of $8,200 a year roughly—$33,000 over the course of four years.”
Assemblymember Skinner told the students how the Middle Class Scholarship program would have made a difference for her.
Asm. Skinner: “When I was a student here and put myself through college, my family did not qualify for Cal grants, for Pell grants, for the variety of financial aids. But I had eight brothers and sisters, so my family was not in the position to pay for my college—but I was not in the position to get the financial aid benefit. What the speaker has done is this brilliant mechanism to take families like my family was in the situation of and many of you where we did not qualify for financial aid, but the burden was still great on us. By eliminating this loophole, it would be able to be passed on to you directly.”
And, she says, the Middle Class Scholarship program is about all Californians.
Asm. Skinner: “This is not just about UC Berkeley or UCLA or UC Irvine; this is about neighborhoods and communities up and down the state and about restoring California’s educational greatness.”
Speaker Pérez: “This is the biggest investment we can make in college affordability in our lifetimes.”
For more information please visit middleclassscholarship.com
CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2046
Presidente Pérez y Asambleísta Skinner Se Reúnen con Estudiantes de UC Berkeley para Discutir el Acta de la Beca Escolar de la Clase Media
(Sacramento) – En el mensaje demócrata semanal, el presidente John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) y la asambleísta Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) visitaron el Campus de UC Berkeley para conversar con estudiantes de UC, CSU y colegios comunitarios sobre el Acta de la Beca Escolar de la Clase Media (AB 1500 y 1501), la cual rebajaría el costo de la matrícula universitaria en dos tercios para las familias de clase media. El plan es pagado con la eliminación del subsidio tributario que gozan las corporaciones que tienen sus cuarteles corporativos fuera del estado y beneficiaria a los estudiantes cuyas familias ganan menos de $150,000 por año.
Para más información sobre la propuesta, visite www.MiddleClassScholarship.com.
Portal del presidente de la Asamblea John A. Pérez: http://asmdc.org/speaker
Portal de la asambleísta Nancy Skinner: www.asmdc.org/skinner
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