October 26, 2016
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces
Release of $100 Million in College Readiness Grants
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that nearly 1,000 local educational agencies (LEA), including school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools, will receive about $100 million in grants to help students prepare to attend college.
The grants, which are available for expenditure through the 2018–19 fiscal year, come from a $200 million College Readiness Block Grant (CRBG) program administered by the California Department of Education (CDE) and approved by the Governor and the Legislature.
The grants were established to increase the number of students who enroll in institutions of higher education and complete an undergraduate degree in four years, with a special emphasis on helping English learners, economically disadvantaged students, and foster youth.
“Every student should have a chance to attend college. These grants provide funds for expanding our students’ access and improving their readiness for higher education—a top priority as we prepare them for 21st century careers,” Torlakson said. “I am pleased to support an investment that gives our students the right tools to prepare for and succeed in higher education.”
Among other things, the funds can be used to pay Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate examination fees; develop or purchase materials that support college readiness, including college entrance exam preparation; counseling services for students; expand access to coursework or other opportunities to satisfy a-g course requirements; and send teachers, counselors, and administrators to professional development opportunities related to college readiness.
While LEAs do not need to apply to receive the CRBG funds, there are other requirements such as the development and adoption of a local plan, and the submission of a report to the California Department of Education on how the LEA will measure the impact of the funds received.
The CRBG funding comes from Senate Bill 828 of 2016, which authorizes the allocation of $200 million to county offices of education, school districts, and charter schools that reported unduplicated students (English learners, economically disadvantaged students and foster youth) in grades nine through twelve during the 2015–16 fiscal year.
The CDE will allocate the funds in two installments. The first installment, to be paid in 2016, reflects approximately 50 percent of each LEA’s entitlement based on eligible students. Remaining funds will be released in spring of 2017. Details may be accessed on the CRBG Web page.
In another step to help high school students fund their college dreams, Torlakson announced that applications for financial aid are now available.Early filing opened October 1 for state and federal financial aid through the California Student Aid Commission Web site, where the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and the California Dream Act Application can be found. Applications are due by March 2, 2017, and are a key step in helping eligible students pay for college.
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100