Lt. Governor Newsom Announces Support for "California College Promise" Legislative Package at launch of Oakland Promise


Proposals expand on the former mayor's San Francisco Promise, to increase college and career opportunity for California's children

(Oakland) - Joining Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf to launch the Oakland Promise today, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom separately announced his support for the "California College Promise" legislative package, a statewide proposal that provides funding to community colleges to establish regional Promise Programs, expands the Cal Grant program for community college students, and increases access to the Board of Governor's (BOG) Fee Waiver program. Lt. Governor Newsom recently proposed the California College Promise, a proposal to scale the Promise Program statewide through regional collaborations from cradle to college and career, in an opinion piece published in the San Jose Mercury News and can be read here.

"Poverty needn't be a destiny," said Lt. Governor Newsom. "If we're serious about closing the income gap, we must get serious about closing the opportunity gap and we know that begins with education. What started in San Francisco has been built upon in Long Beach, Richmond, and now Oakland. With this legislative package, we're scaling statewide, with regions rising together."

The legislative package was announced by Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside), Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, whose bill AB1721 expands the Cal Grant by increasing the number of competitive Cal Grant A and B awards from 25,750 to 30,000, increasing the Cal Grant B Access award from $1,551 to $3,000, and expanding access to the California Community College Transfer Entitlement Award by increasing the age limit and extending the application deadline. AB1583 by Assembly Majority Whip Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) would increase access to the Board of Governor's (BOG) Fee Waiver program for all students with financial need, and legislation by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona) would establish regional College Programs.

"Effectively moving the needle on community college enrollment and completion requires more than free tuition," said Assemblymember Jose Medina. "Books, transportation and housing costs can make up more than 90-percent of the total cost of attending a community college. AB1721 will expand access to cover non-tuition costs for community college for community college students.

"Supplemental college costs such as books, transportation, and living expenses can total thousands of dollars annually for students - an often unpleasant surprise for families who thought they'd be able to make it with tuition waivers alone," said Assemblymember Santiago. "AB1583 will strengthen the BOG waiver program to help cover these extra expenses."

"We need to send the message to all of California's students that college is within their reach. An effective Promise Program must include early exposure to the college-going culture, guidance from mentors, and alignment between K-12, community colleges, California's universities, and the state's workforce," said Assemblymember Rodriguez. "I am introducing legislation to provide innovation grants to community colleges to establish regional promise programs modeled after the successful programs in Long Beach and San Francisco."

The announcement came as Lt. Governor Newsom joined Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf - along with local and national education officials, advocates, parents and students - to launch the Oakland Promise. Over the next decade, the Oakland Promise seeks to triple the number of low-income Oakland public school graduates who complete a post-secondary education.

At full implementation, The Oakland Promise would offer a range of support for the city's children, including $500 college savings accounts for every child born into poverty and $500 grants for parents; $100 for each child entering public-school kindergarten with matching funds available based on parent donations; college and career centers at each high school with full-time staff; up to $16,000 in college scholarships for low-income students; and mentoring for college students to support college completion.

The initiatives expand on the work pioneered in San Francisco by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom. In 2008, Mayor Newsom launched the San Francisco Promise in partnership with San Francisco State University and the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). Since the program began, the number of freshmen enrolled at SF State from SFUSD high schools has grown by 52 percent. The program currently exists as the Robert and Joyce Corrigan SF Promise Endowed Scholarship.

In October 2010, Mayor Newsom launched Kindergarten to College (K2C), the nation's first universal children's savings account program, designed to put all children on the path to college. The city would open a savings account with an initial seed deposit for every kindergartner entering public school. K2C became available to all children entering kindergarten in the SFUSD in the 2012-2013 school year.