On Oct. 4, Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan’s (D-Orinda) bill AB 1344 was signed into law – one of two bills by Bauer-Kahan that was signed by the Governor this week.
Online, for-profit institutions that are based out-of-state have had a flawed history of accreditation issues as well as a track record of misleading students and taking their money and running. Student borrowers default on their student loans at a much higher rate after enrolling at these deceptive, predatory, out-of-state colleges than students who enroll at in-state institutions, which operate under significantly higher standards that California already has in place.
AB 1344 will require that all out-of-state higher education institutions that enroll students from California comply with all state accreditation requirements and register with the Bureau of Postsecondary Private Education. This marks a major victory for students who have fallen victim to these misleading institutions, and pushes back against the Trump/DeVos administration which has systematically removed student protections.
“California is stepping up to protect our nearly 100,000 students enrolled in online, for-profit and out-of-state institutions who are caught in the bullseye of these harmful policies, by holding the bad actor colleges accountable for misleading and bankrupting our students,” said Bauer-Kahan. “In the face of the Department of Education’s rollbacks of student protections under Secretary DeVos, I’m proud to offer our students relief from these predatory colleges and their deceptive practices.”
Earlier in the week, AB 807 was also signed by the Governor, which aims to create equity for low income students who are honored for their scholastic achievement. Currently, when a child is awarded a scholarship, those dollars are counted as “income” for his or her family when calculating the student’s CalWORKs eligibility and need. This discourages families from accepting these scholarships and makes it much more difficult for that child to seek a higher education. AB 807 ensures that these scholarships are not counted against a student’s family.
Additionally, AB 807 would exclude income received for assisting in the decennial census, which will encourage census employment and allow low income individuals to get out and count their own communities without putting their own aid at risk.
“Low-income Californians are trying hard to improve their life trajectories and to strengthen their communities,” said Jessica Barthalow of the Western Center on Law & Poverty. “Too often when they manage to take one step ahead, program rules take them one step back. AB 807 helps to change that, which is why we have been proud to sponsor this important piece of legislation.”
Both bills received broad bipartisan support through the legislature and bring the Assemblymember’s tally to seven bills so far this legislative session.