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Cervantes Introduces Bill to Reduce Barriers to Accessing Financial Aid

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO) – Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona) has introduced Assembly Bill 863, which would limit the number of times an individual student is selected for financial aid verification.

Each year, certain students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are selected for verification and required to provide evidence that the information they submitted is accurate. In many cases, the verification process can be burdensome, creating serious barriers to obtaining financial aid awards particularly for low-income, first-generation, homeless students and their families. According to the National College Access Network, approximately 50 percent of low-income students are selected each year for verification, and due to the burden imposed, 22 percent of them will give up on applying for financial aid altogether.

“For many students, pursuing a higher education is the path to a fulfilling career and a good paying job. However, students seeking financial aid encounter challenges associated with verification that inadvertently complicate the process and hinder their ability to fulfill their goals,” said Assemblymember Cervantes. “AB 863 would improve the verification process and reduce the unnecessary obstacles to obtaining financial aid for qualified students.”

AB 863 would prohibit any single higher education institution, and the California Student Aid Commission, from performing eligibility verification on an individual student more than once. Institutions would still be able to verify students, if selected, who transfer to their institution, and may perform additional verification if a student’s enrollment is interrupted for more than one academic year. This will apply to all public institutions of higher learning, as well as any state-funded financial aid used at private institutions.

This bill will next be referred to an Assembly policy committee by the Assembly Rules Committee. 

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Sabrina Cervantes proudly represents the 60th District of the California State Assembly, which encompasses the cities of Corona, Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Norco, a portion of Riverside, and the unincorporated communities of Coronita,El Cerrito, and Home Gardens. Cervantes serves as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy.