California to Speed Graduation, Offer Debt Cancellation at Community Colleges

SACRAMENTO – Building on the Administration’s Roadmap with California Community Colleges and Compacts with the University of California and California State University, Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the signing of legislation to boost graduation and transfer rates and offer debt cancellation at community colleges.

“California is increasing resources, adding services, and advancing equity to boost graduation and transfer rates throughout our higher education systems,” said Governor Newsom. “Thanks to the Legislature’s leadership, we’re building on my Administration’s efforts to ensure all of our students are well-equipped to succeed and prepared for California’s future.”

“Today is a groundbreaking moment in the future of higher education as we finally turn the page on antiquated placement tests that pressure students into classes that do not count toward their graduation requirements,” said Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks). “Since the implementation of my bill AB 705 in 2018, there have been significant improvements towards closing racial equity gaps, especially for Black and Latino students who historically have been overrepresented in remedial courses, but systemic barriers remain. The signing of AB 1705 & AB 1187 coupled with the $64 million investment in tutoring students to earn college credits, will ensure that students and faculty receive the resources they need to make students successful. My sincere thanks to the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, Chancellor Gonzales, and advocates for steadfast commitment to these reforms.”

The bills signed today will:

  • Ensure that students attending California Community Colleges enroll directly into transfer-level math and English courses, if their program requires it or they are seeking to transfer.

  • Expand supervised tutoring offered for foundational skills and transfer-level courses.

  • Offer debt cancellation to encourage students to re-enroll and enroll at community colleges, building on budget appropriations.

“The California Community Colleges are grateful to the leadership of Governor Newsom for signing transformative legislation that will advance student success and further the goals of the Roadmap for the Future,” said California Community Colleges Interim Chancellor Dr. Daisy Gonzales, Ph.D. “Reforming remedial education and expanding access to tutoring will help millions of Californians complete their education faster, and many more will continue their dreams because of new opportunities possible when we eliminate the burden of prior debts owed. We thank the many student and campus leaders who advocated for these changes, and stand ready to continue to lead an equitable recovery in higher education.”

“Along with the historic compacts with our public colleges and universities, addressing placement practices at our colleges is good news for students,” said Michele Siqueiros, President, Campaign for College Opportunity. “We are thankful to Governor Newsom for signing AB 1705 into law today, and for his genuine student-centered leadership on higher education in California. Community college students will no longer be deprived of the opportunity to take the transfer-level courses they need. Along with significant investments in funding enrollment, expanding financial aid, and improving transfer pathways – under this Governor our college students have a greater chance to succeed, earn a degree, and contribute to a brighter future for our golden state.”

A full list of the bills signed can be found here:

  • AB 288 by Assemblymember Lisa Calderon (D-Whittier) – California Ban on Scholarship Displacement Act of 2021.

  • AB 1705 by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) – Seymour-Campbell Student Success Act of 2012: matriculation: assessment.

  • AB 1187 by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) – Community colleges: tutoring.

  • AB 1712 by Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside) – Public postsecondary education: campus safety: online survey tool.

  • AB 1958 by Assemblymember Mike Fong (D-Alhambra) – The Community College Student Access, Retention, and Debt Cancellation Program.

  • AB 1942 by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) – Community colleges: funding: instructional service agreements with public safety agencies.

  • AB 1997 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson) – California State University: emergency response programs: report.

  • AB 2315 by Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) – Community colleges: records: affirmed name and gender identification.

  • AB 2482 by Assemblymember Lisa Calderon (D-Whittier) – Public postsecondary education: student health: pilot program: wellness vending machines.

  • AB 2810 by Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) – Student nutrition: CalFresh: student eligibility: Federal Application for Student Aid data.

  • AB 2881 by Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) – Public postsecondary education: students with dependent children.

  • SB 684 by Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) – California State University: doctoral programs in public health.

  • SB 893 by Senator Josh Becker (D-Menlo Park) – Community colleges: San Mateo County Community College District: California College Promise.