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Governor Signs Bill to Allow Universities to Appeal Cal Grant Ineligibility Decisions

For immediate release:

Assembly Bill 25 to provide an appeals process for campuses with small cohorts

(Sacramento) – Legislation signed by Governor Jerry Brown and authored by Assemblymember Gipson (D-Carson), Assembly Bill (AB) 25, will give new authority to the California Student Aid Commission to review appeals from colleges that were deemed ineligible for Cal Grant awards.

“This measure will allow campuses to continue receiving critical funding, without losing eligibility as a result of overly broad policies,” states Gipson, “one size does not fit all, and this is an important step in ensuring that campuses are not vulnerable as a result of their small size.”

Institutional Cal Grant eligibility is based on the performance of each first-time full-time (FTFT) student cohort, representing students who have no prior college credits and are taking classes that total to at least 12 units. The progress of each FTFT freshman class is tracked as they move towards college completion, and campus eligibility is based on whether these cohorts meet a three-year cohort default rate below 15.5 percent and maintain a graduation rate above 30 percent.

This policy posed, however, a challenge for universities with small cohorts. For example, a campus with 100 students in its cohort would need over 70 students to drop out in order for it to have a graduation rate below 30 percent. On the other hand, campuses like Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, which has had FTFT cohorts as small as four students, could lose campus wide eligibility as a result of just three students dropping out.

Dr. David Carlisle, President of Charles R. Drew University, stated, “The signing of AB 25 is a tremendous victory for institutions like CDU that have small cohorts of first time, full time students. In particular, AB 25 will allow CDU to appeal decisions that disenfranchise Cal Grant eligible students for no other reason than a methodology that does not account for small numbers of first time students and is not indicative of the overall graduation rate of the institution. We are grateful for Assemblymember Gipson’s leadership on this issue; that the CSAC Administration acknowledged the issue and that Governor Brown signed AB 25.”

CONTACT: Erric S. Garris,, (916) 319-2064