Speaker Pérez and Assemblymember Skinner Meet With UC Berkeley Students to Discuss the Middle Class Scholarship Act
In this Democratic weekly radio address, Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) visit the UC Berkeley campus to talk with UC, CSU and community college students about the Middle Class Scholarship Act (AB 1500 and 1501), which will cut state college costs by two-thirds for middle class families. The plan is paid for by closing a tax loophole benefitting out-of-state corporations and would benefit students whose families make less than $150,000 per year.
For more information on the proposal, go to www.MiddleClassScholarship.com.
This week’s English address is 4:15
This week’s Spanish address is 5:58
Website of Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez: http://asmdc.org/speaker/
Website of Assemblymember Nancy Skinner: www.asmdc.org/skinner
Announcer: In order to make college more affordable and accessible, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and Assemblymember Nancy Skinner met with UC, CSU and Community College students at UC Berkeley to discuss the Middle Class Scholarship Act, a bold plan that would cut college fees by two-thirds for middle class Californians.
As the Speaker explained, the plan is paid for by closing a tax loophole.
Speaker Pérez: “From 2009, because passing a budget required a super majority, there was an extraction made to create a tax loophole that only benefited out-of-state corporations and it put in-state companies at a competitive disadvantage and denied us over a billion dollars a year in revenues.”
Announcer: While that loophole was carved out Middle Class families, already hit hard by the Recession, faced fast rising college fees.
Speaker Pérez: “We know that from 2003/2004 from that academic year until now fees at the CSU system have gone up 191 percent. We know from that same point in time, fees at the UC system have gone up 145 percent and we know that community colleges have gotten more expensive as well.”
Announcer: Forcing students and their families to take on mountains of debt.
Speaker Pérez: “That limits your productivity. It limits your ability to live every dream you have. It limits the ability of young people to be as creative and entrepreneurial as they can be to develop the new technologies and new ideas of the future. It hurts all of our economic prosperity to burden students with huge amounts of debt.”
Announcer: Speaker Pérez and Assembly Democrats saw these problems and realized the Middle Class Scholarship Act is the solution.
Speaker Pérez: “So we tried to look at different ways that we could address this loophole and figure out what we could do that made the greatest impact in the long-term economic future of the state. And we know that the greatest investment we can make is making college affordable.”
Closing the loophole will bring in revenue that will allow the state to make higher education affordable again.
Speaker Pérez: “We take the first $150 million and send it to the community colleges, and then we take the balance and we use it to create affordability for everybody at UC and CSU—and we use it to reduce fees by two thirds for anybody whose family makes $150,000 a year or less. That’s 88 percent of our students at CSU. It’s almost 80 percent of our students at UC.”
The savings for those tens of thousands of middle class students and their families will be dramatic.
Speaker Pérez: “At CSU it takes the fees from $5,970 a year to $1,970: $4000 a year savings, $16,000 over the course of four years. At UC it will take for these students’ fees down from just over $12,000 to $4,000 with savings of $8,200 a year roughly—$33,000 over the course of four years.”
Assemblymember Skinner told the students how the Middle Class Scholarship program would have made a difference for her.
Asm. Skinner: “When I was a student here and put myself through college, my family did not qualify for Cal grants, for Pell grants, for the variety of financial aids. But I had eight brothers and sisters, so my family was not in the position to pay for my college—but I was not in the position to get the financial aid benefit. What the speaker has done is this brilliant mechanism to take families like my family was in the situation of and many of you where we did not qualify for financial aid, but the burden was still great on us. By eliminating this loophole, it would be able to be passed on to you directly.”
And, she says, the Middle Class Scholarship program is about all Californians.
Asm. Skinner: “This is not just about UC Berkeley or UCLA or UC Irvine; this is about neighborhoods and communities up and down the state and about restoring California’s educational greatness.”
Speaker Pérez: “This is the biggest investment we can make in college affordability in our lifetimes.”
For more information please visit middleclassscholarship.com
Speaker John Perez represents California's 46th Assembly District and Assemblymember Nancy Skinner represents California's 14th Assembly District.