California Governor Proposes Cutting Middle Class College Scholarships

SONOMA (KPIX 5) — A new plan by Governor Jerry Brown could cost some students their opportunity to go to college.

Under his state budget plan, the governor wants to cut a scholarship program geared towards middle class students.

If this program is cut, thousands of middle class families will be affected- forcing their children to re-think their options for higher education.

High school senior Rose Cohen-Sandler, 18, wants to attend UCLA and eventually its medical school. But just five months out from graduation that specific dream may not be a possibility, or at the very least become more expensive.

Rose Cohen-Sandler told KPIX 5, “Unfortunately that’s the way of the game. I’ve had to get creative with scholarships and financial aid…”

Tuition itself was already going to be a game of numbers for her family, but Governor Brown’s call to end the states only financial aid program for the middle class would make it an even more challenging one.

Rose’s parents were depending on that three thousand dollars a year to help them out with the 34-thousand it’ll cost them.

Rose’s mother, Jill Cohen-Sandler said, “We are scraping every piece together to make this work for my daughter…I feel like she deserves to go to a university and is ready to go to a university.”

By cutting the program, the state says, it can help close its budget gap while keeping alive the CalGrants program which helps low-income families.

H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the State Finance Department said, “One of the things that we want to make sure when we close that 1.6 billion dollar gap…while protecting the most needy students.”

Jill Cohen-Sandler and her husband make more than the income cut off for that program, but with a 4.7 GPA, hundreds of community service hours and a laundry list of extracurricular, says her daughter isn’t any less deserving of that state university education.

Rose Cohen-Sandler said, “For every semester, every class, I’ve worked really hard.”

She said it would very validating to be able to go to her top choice university.

Many universities, like UCLA, UC Berkeley and UC Davis, offer their own financial aid programs available to the middle class, but they say they are meant to supplement the state’s system- not supplant it.

More from Emily Turner
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