Twenty-five Biola University students recently traveled to the state Capitol in Sacramento to lobby against the proposed 44 percent cuts to the Cal Grant program. On March 7, Biola students joined hundreds of other students from private colleges across California, representing more than 26,000 Cal Grant recipients, in the “Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities Student Day in the Capitol” rally.

Biola senior Sheena Boyd participated in lobby day not for herself, but for those who may be affected later, she said.

“If higher education is needed to thrive in this country and state, then California should do all they can to help make that happen for the future of the state and California residents,” said Boyd. “I’m not only going for myself, but for people like my younger sister who will be transferring into a four-year school soon to continue her education. If education is as important as America puts on, we’re going to need every opportunity to finish it, which includes affordability.”

Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing to reduce the Cal Grant maximum award to students at California’s private, nonprofit colleges from $9,708 to $5,472 — a 44 percent reduction. At Biola, 835 students currently receive Cal Grant funding. The proposed cuts would cost Biola students over $3.3 million and potentially jeopardize their education.

Students traveled to the Capitol in hopes of educating policymakers about the value of Cal Grant spending.  After meeting with members of the state Senate and Assembly, Biola students had the opportunity to share their views on the proposed Cal Grant cuts during a public hearing at the Assembly’s subcommittee on education finance. At the end of the hearing the subcommittee rejected the governor’s Cal Grant proposal.

Hundreds of college students rallied on the steps of the Capitol where a number of legislators assured students they would fight for higher education.

“We partner with your dreams, we partner with your hard work, we partner with your sacrifice and the sacrifice of your families. And that partnership is so valuable to us as your elected representatives that I’m not prepared to throw it away and to cut it in half,” said California Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla representing the 11th Assembly District. “It is worth the very future of this state, the very future of higher education. It’s far too valuable for us to say that we are willing to sacrifice that and that we are willing to sacrifice you to balance the budget. We are not willing to do that.”

Cutting Cal Grant spending may seem like an easy way to save the state money, however, the California Legislative Analyst Office’s (LAO) Budget Overview says reducing the maximum award for AICCU Cal Grant students could result in greater costs to the state if students shift enrollment from nonprofit to public institutions. Interestingly, the state’s investment in financially needy students at independent nonprofit institutions is substantially lower than the total cost California absorbs when Cal Grant students attend a UC or California State school.

Read the Whittier Daily News’ article on the Cal Grant protest.

Read the San Francisco Chronicle’s article, “Cal Grant cuts rejected by finance panel.”

Written by Brenda Velasco, Manager of Public Relations & Internal Communications. For more information, please contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, at or via phone at 562.777.4061.