Our View: Raising minimum GPA for Cal Grants is unfair
Published: Sunday, February 12, 2012
Updated: Thursday, July 12, 2012 15:07
Getting funds for school is about to get a whole lot tougher for students going to college in California. Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown announced a proposal to increase the qualifying grade point averages for students who receive Cal Grants. The proposal would affect students within the University of California and Cal State University systems.
If the decision goes through it would raise the merit-based Cal Grant A minimum GPA from 3.0 to 3.25 and the income-based Cal Grant B from 2.0 to 2.75. The GPA requirement would also increase for students who have transferred from community colleges. Their minimum requirement will move from 2.4 to 2.75.
With the price of school skyrocketing over the past few years— at Long Beach State in particular—this news comes as another major blow to students trying to finish up their college degree.
Cal Grant students who have been working to maintain a certain GPA to keep their funding each year will now have to hope they kept their GPA high enough to continue receiving funding.
If this proposal does go through, it is unfair to raise the minimum GPA requirement on current students who have been going to school and getting the sufficient grades to receive the grant. Especially in the Cal Grant B circumstance, which raises the minimum GPA by .75.
Raising the minimum GPA requirement will affect students deeper into their college careers the most. They'll have difficulty raising their GPA quick enough to meet the requirement if they fall below the new cutoff.
Also, many students receiving these types of grants really need the money. Many have part-time jobs just to offset all their school expenses, which can be detrimental to quality study time.
The proposal will be tough on certain students who do not make the new requirement who cannot pay to finish up their degree.
However, something does has to give for California to get out of its financial crisis. Brown says the proposal could knock off $131.2 million in state funding. That is a lot of money that the state can cut out of the budget.
But, Cal Grants are different from the student loans most college students get. Student loans get paid back after graduation whereas Cal Grants do not.
Students receiving Cal Grants are essentially getting free money and should be pushed harder to earn the cash.
Raising the GPA requirement will force those with a lower GPA who abuse the system to work harder.This proposal would be harshest on students being affected in the middle of their college tenure. If, for whatever reason they do not meet the new requirements, it would be unfair to take away money they have been expecting to get.
If implementing this proposal increases dropout rates, the state should reconsider. Maybe it would be better to apply the new requirement strictly to incoming freshmen.
Nonetheless, California is going to keep searching for ways to cut down the financial deficit. Even though Cal Grants can be looked at as an investment into our future, our current situation cannot warrant giving away free money to students who are just skating by with lower GPAs. Many students will be edged out of the Cal Grant program, but maybe raising the minimum GPA will help raise standards of CSU and UC students.