Assembly Approves Calderon Bill Requiring Comprehensive Surveys for CSU Student Cost of Attendance

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, the Assembly approved Assembly Bill 1064, a measure authored by Majority Leader Ian Calderon which requires the California State University (CSU) to complete comprehensive survey every three years to identify cost of attendance (COA) for students.

“The adoption of an inaccurate COA causes a student to be ill prepared to finance their living while attending a university,” stated Majority Leader Calderon. “AB 1064 ensures that students and families have accurate information about cost of attendance before and during their academic career.”

In fall 2013, the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA found almost half of all incoming first-year students said COA was a very important decision-making factor while choosing colleges. Yet, at the state level, there are no laws dictating cost of attendance formulation. Currently, San Francisco State University and CSU, Bakersfield’s have similar COA.

In 2015, the median monthly housing costs for renters in San Francisco was $1558 compared to $983 in Bakersfield. This same pattern of similar cost of attendances being rendered for campuses with radically different costs for similar housing is also found when comparing CSU Fresno with CSU Long Beach and CSU Chico with CSU Northridge.

Cost of attendance is important for two reasons. First, it sets the cap for federal aid available for students. Secondly, it signals to families and students how much funding is necessary to save for education.

AB 1064 requires the CSU to complete a comprehensive survey every three years with the goal of identifying an accurate cost of attendance for students attending each campus. The measure explicitly states the survey measures are required to take steps to assure students who are forgoing purchasing items because of “poverty or hardship” will not unduly deflate cost factors associated with establishing the cost of attendance. Finally, AB 1064 requires the CSU collect survey data on childcare expenses but will not allow this data to unduly skew cost of attendance for students without children.

Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (562) 692-5858