Burke Introduces Bill to Give Veterans a Fair Shot at Higher Education

For immediate release:

AB 1361 eliminates the age cap in the Cal Grant program for veterans.

SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblywoman Autumn R. Burke (D-Los Angeles) introduced AB 1361 which removes the age restrictions in the Cal Grant Program for veterans.

“Our gratitude for a veteran’s service doesn’t have an expiration date, and neither should our Cal Grant awards,” said Assemblymember Burke. “Whether you’re pursuing a bachelor’s degree or technical certification, Cal Grants can be the key that unlocks the door to new career opportunities in civilian life.”

Current law caps Cal Grant eligibility at the age of 28 for all applicants.  Because a majority of veterans who enter college are “non-traditional” students that are not entering immediately upon graduation from high school, they are particularly affected by the maximum age requirement.

“It doesn’t make sense that a veteran is essentially automatically disqualified from the Cal Grant based on their age because they chose to serve their country,” said Stan Rapada, Veteran Resource Center Coordinator at San Joaquin Delta College. “Removing the age limit for veterans would benefit them by helping them meet their financial needs.  Some veteran students that I work with skip meals to make ends meet in order to stay in school.” 

During the 2013-14 academic year, 5,805 students in the 62nd Assembly District received Cal Grant awards, totaling over $23 million in financial aid.  Statewide, 426,400 students were offered Cal Grant awards.

AB 1361 is sponsored by the California Student Aid Commission.  If passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Brown, the provisions of the bill go into effect on January 1st, 2016.