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State Assembly Approves Cervantes Bill to Extend Application Deadline for State Financial Aid Programs

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO) – Today, Assembly Bill 1887 by Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes (D-Riverside), Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, was approved by the State Assembly by a floor vote of 74-0. AB 1887 would extend the application deadline for state financial aid programs, including the Cal Grant and the Middle Class Scholarship, from April 2 to May 2. The bill is a response to the ongoing implementation issues with the federal Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which has left many California students unable to apply for financial aid and wreaked havoc on the enrollment timeline for colleges and universities.

“Making the path to fulfilling our students’ dreams of achieving higher education more affordable and accessible is among the Legislature’s highest duties, and I believe we have honored that duty by passing this bill today,” said Assemblymember Cervantes. “I want to thank my colleagues in the Assembly—especially Speaker Robert Rivas—for working with me to send Assembly Bill 1887 to the Senate so we can extend this deadline and give California students more time to apply for financial aid.”

In late 2020, Congress passed the FAFSA Simplification Act, which was intended to streamline the FAFSA and make it more accessible for working families. This included reducing the number of questions asked of student applicants from more than 100 questions to less than 40.

However, the implementation of FAFSA reforms has not been easy. Delays in necessary technological upgrades and reduced staffing levels helped contribute to the new FAFSA being made available several months late in 2023. This has led to a significant reduction in the number of students who have completed the FAFSA, as nationwide, FAFSA submissions are down nearly 33 percent compared to the previous academic year. Another lingering problem is that students with undocumented parents have experienced an error message because their parents lack a Social Security number. This has rendered these students unable to complete the FAFSA.

Assembly Bill 1887 will extend the application deadline for state financial aid programs from April 2 to May 2. This will provide students with more time to complete the FAFSA so they can access the financial resources to begin their college educations in earnest. The bill will also allow the federal government to have more time to solve the ongoing implementation issues with the new FAFSA, including the barrier that is blocking students with undocumented parents from completing their applications. It will also provide our colleges and universities with more time to make admissions decisions, provide financial aid award offers, and finalize their enrollment decisions.

Assembly Bill 1887 will next be sent to the State Senate for consideration by a Senate policy committee. Because the bill has an urgency clause, it would take effect immediately if signed into law by the Governor. You can find more information about AB 1887 here.