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Cal Grants   

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(a) To be eligible for a Cal Grant B award, the applicant shall be a disadvantaged student under criteria to be established by the commission, which shall take into consideration those financial, educational, cultural, language, home, community, environmental, and other conditions that hamper access to and persistence in postsecondary programs.

(b) The Legislature recognizes that the role of the community colleges, as the least expensive level of California higher education, is a crucial role in increasing the higher education opportunities for disadvantaged students, and it is the intent of the Legislature that the additional opportunities for higher education provided pursuant to this section shall be initiated primarily on the public community college level.

(c) Regarding the intent that the additional opportunities for higher education provided under this section be initiated primarily on the public community college level, the commission shall continue to allocate Cal Grant B awards as they were allocated up to and including the 1997-98 academic year.

(d) Awards under this section shall be for subsistence costs. The commission may also award these grants and an additional amount to pay tuition and fees to attend college at a public or private four-year college or university or other eligible postsecondary educational institution. No more than 2 percent of new recipients enrolling for the first time in an institution of postsecondary education shall be eligible for tuition payments and fees in their first academic year of attendance.

(e) An individual selected for a Cal Grant B award who enrolls in a public community college in his or her first year of attendance, and who is determined to be financially ineligible for renewal of the award in the second year of attendance at a public community college but would be financially eligible for renewal, if he or she had elected to attend a four-year college, may elect to have the award held in trust for a period not to exceed two academic years, except that the commission may extend the period in which the award is held in trust for up to three academic years, if, in the commission' s judgment, the individual's rate of academic progress has been as rapid as could be expected for the personal and financial conditions that the individual has encountered. The commission shall, in this case, hold the award in trust, to be granted to the individual upon receipt of his or her request therefor within that period, provided that at the time of making the request the individual meets all the requirements of this chapter. Upon receipt of the request, the commission shall assess or reassess the financial needs of the individual. The commission may prescribe the forms and procedures to be utilized for the purposes of this section. The commission may award to another eligible individual any award being so held in trust, subject to the provisions of this section and any other conditions and restrictions that may be imposed by the commission, to the end that all authorized awards are continually being utilized. Following the first year for which any award is made, the awards shall be included in the number of the continuing awards available for any year and not the authorized new awards for the year.

(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 336, Sec. 5.)