January 25, 2017
Dear Governor Brown:
In a recent Los Angeles Times article titled, “If Brown phases out college scholarships for middle class students, stressed parents wonder: ‘How are we going to make this work?’” H.D. Palmer, the Deputy Director for External Affairs with the California State Department of Finance, was quoted as saying, “We believe that gradually phasing out the Middle Class Scholarship Program will allow us to continue to maintain the Cal Grant entitlement program that’s focused on those students with the greatest financial need.”
Although I appreciate your desire to ensure fiscal stability in our State, I have significant concerns that you are proposing to cut spending for education programs that benefit middle class families and students, while at the same time, continuing to offer Cal Grants, in-state tuition and other financial aid benefits to students who are in the United States illegally, as authorized in AB 540.
And, while I am well aware of policies adopted by your Administration and the California State Legislature to make California a Sanctuary State for illegal immigrants, I struggle to understand the justification for putting illegal immigrants ahead of middle class American families. Doing so puts a clear, undue burden on the backs of hard-working families in our State while further incentivizing illegal immigration with the promise of education benefits.
This kind of disregard for federal law is one of the many reasons I introduced the No Funding for Sanctuary Campuses Act earlier this month, which would block federal funding from going to institutions of higher education that offer in-state tuition to students who are in the United States illegally.
With that being said, as I work with my colleagues to consider California’s FY17 and FY18 funding requests, I would appreciate the following information:
- How much money does the State of California plan to spend on Cal Grants and other financial aid benefits over the next five years for students who are in the United States illegally?
- In order to ensure the Cal Grant program is fully funded, is the State of California able to maintain full funding for the Cal Grant program by phasing out state-based financial assistance to students who are in the United States illegally?
- If yes, why does the State of California wish to eliminate the Middle Class Scholarship Program instead of phasing out Cal Grant eligibility and state-based financial assistance for students who are in the United States illegally?
Thank you for your attention to this important issue. I look forward to your timely response and appreciate your consideration of my questions.
Duncan Hunter, Member of Congress
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