Quirk-Silva Extends Tax Credits to Increase College Grants

Friday, October 13, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill 490 (AB 490), authored by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D - Orange County) was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. AB 490 will extend the College Access Tax Credit Program for 5 years, and support Cal Grant B Access Awards for California students, in an effort to shorten the time it takes to graduate and to allow students to spend more time focusing on their studies.

“This law provides a continuation of funding for Cal Grant B awards that cover textbooks, housing, transportation, childcare and other living expenses, and additional costs associated with higher education for low-income students,” said Quirk-Silva. “The College Access Tax Credit is an innovative program that will help students, while allowing individuals and businesses to get the maximum benefit from that investment.”

More than $15 million in tax credits have been awarded since the credit began and has helped over 200,000 students achieve their higher education goals through increased Cal Grant awards.

Lande Ajose, Chair of the California Student Aid Commission stated “We are pleased that both the Legislature and Governor recognize the importance of the College Access Tax Credit as a source of financial aid for the state’s lowest income students.”

Many students must work one or even two jobs to help pay the bills, which delays graduation and impacts the students’ ability to maximize their learning experience. Cal Grant B is most common at community colleges and California State Universities. The average family income for students that are awarded the grant is $20,249, and the ceiling cap for a family of four is $50,100.

John Chiang, California State Treasurer, stated “There is no time-tested solution to poverty, crime, or wealth inequality than to make college education an affordable possibility for every child who seeks one. I fervently believe that higher education creates opportunities and quality jobs for Californians. Unfortunately, with the costs of college tuition continuing to skyrocket, many California families either cannot afford college, or students are graduating with massive debts that prevent them from saving for a down payment on a home, putting money away for retirement or starting a business.”

“The College Access Tax Credit was created in an effort to rebuild the state’s investment in education. Today, the program is more important than ever to providing some financial relief to those looking to pursue a higher education. That is why it was so important the state extend the program,” said Chiang.

The State Treasurer went on to say, “I want to thank Governor Brown for signing AB 490 and the bill’s author, Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva, for her leadership on this issue.”

More information about the bill can be found here.