A new scholarship proposal is aimed to keep the cost of college affordable for middle-income families by eliminating out-of-state corporate spending.
Proposed by California Assembly Speaker John Perez, the Middle Class Scholarship Act would reduce tuition at California's public colleges, making it affordable for middle-class families.
"The California Middle Class Scholarship Act is very simple," Perez said in a video posted on the Middle Class Scholarship Act website. "Too many families are getting squeezed out of higher education. The Middle Class Scholarship Act reduces fees at UC system and the CSU system by two-thirds, giving tremendous assistance to those families to make college affordable again."
Assemblyman Richard Pan, who is a sponsor of the bill, spoke at a Cosumnes River College about the act in front of more than 100 students on March 28. He told students that the act will have a positive impact.
"Why should we reward corporations who move jobs out of California?" said Pan, who was in charge of the event. "This [act] will put $150 million into the community college system."
The $150 million would increase fee waivers or provide grants to cover the costs of books, transportation or other educational expenses. The act aims to slash college fees by two-thirds for all students with a family income less than $150,000, according to a brochure about the Middle Class Scholarship Act distributed by Pan.
"I think that it will definitely help kids who can't afford college, afford it," said Justin Henry, a 29-year-old communications major.
The act will close a $1 billion corporate tax loophole that allows out-of-state corporations to have lower California taxes, according to the brochure.
Communications professor Colette Harris-Mathews supported the event and the act.
"It's important to have this civic engagement," Harris-Mathews said. "We have to do something to fund community colleges and make community colleges more available to students."
While the majority of the students in attendance were in favor of the act, there were some students that were not so quick to support the act.
"I'm just a little bit skeptical of it because while I'm all for pushing education in California, we're just kind of faced with this grim reality that we are $13 billion in debt in just California alone," said Michael Lindsley, 21, a computer science/mathematics major. "Stuff like this, I don't just go up and sign it."
While not every student was in favor of the act, there was no denying the passion they felt about improving community colleges.
"We are at a time where we need to redevelop our community," said 22-year-old undeclared major Natasha Sanders. "It takes hard work and effort to make things better."