Assemblymember Holly Mitchell Unveils Middle Class Scholarship Program

February 08, 2012

Democratic Legislators Act to Relieve Burden of Rising Public College Fees on Middle Class

Los Angeles—Assemblymember Holly Mitchell (D-47) joined Assembly leaders today in introducing major new legislation to create the Middle Class Scholarship program. AB 1501, introduced by Speaker John A. Pérez and co-authored by Assemblywoman Mitchell, whose district includes UCLA, would provide thousands of dollars in savings for middle-income families with students enrolled in California's public higher education system.

Historically, UCLA is where middle class parents could send a child to get a first class education and a degree that would open any professional door, said Assemblywoman Mitchell.  While low-income students were eligible for Cal and Pell Grants, middle class families  struggle with the rising costs of tuition increases and state program cuts. Middle Class Scholarships will make public colleges affordable again.  Mitchell was on UCLA's campus last week to accept the Legislator of the Year award from Bruin Democrats.

Since the 2003-2004 school year, CSU fees have increased 191%, UC fees have increased by 145%, and community college student fees have also increased significantly. Many middle income families have had to increase use of student loans to cover the thousands of dollars in fee hikes. This leads to years of chronic debt, or to some students giving up on the promise of higher education altogether.

California's economy can't heal or grow if our youths' opportunities are stifled, Mitchell said.   

All students at the CSU or UC with family incomes less than $150,000 that do not already have fees covered will receive a Middle Class Scholarship that cuts costs by 2/3.

Under this proposal:

  • Approximately 150,000 CSU families will save more than $4,000 per year;
  • Nearly 42,000 UC families will see a savings of $8169; and
  • Community Colleges will receive $150 million to expand affordability efforts.

UCLA and California's other public colleges generate top-notch scholars, innovators and professionals, noted Assemblywoman Mitchell. By closing a tax loophole that only benefits out-of-state corporations we are ensuring that the pipeline of educational excellence continues to flow and that the children of our hardest working families won't be financially locked out.

This effort will require a 2/3 vote of the Legislature, which means some Republican legislators will have to join Democrats in supporting the plan for it to go into effect.

For more information, please call Assemblymember Holly Mitchell's office at 310/342-1070

Contact: Charles Stewart, 310/342-1070