LOS ANGELES (KTXL) — Gov. Gavin Newsom was in Los Angeles Wednesday to sign several bills aimed at making college more affordable and accessible for Californians.
“We have the plan and this year, we have the money to get big things done,” Newsom explained at California State University, Northridge, Wednesday where a crowd gathered in a pep rally-like atmosphere.
“It’s because we had an historic budget surplus this year, testament to your hard work — $80 billion. Eat your heart out, Texas. Eat your heart out, Florida. Eat your heart out, Tennessee,” Newsom added.
The legislation includes a $2 billion investment to boost the availability of affordable housing for college students and campus staff.
“Men and women should be able to focus on their jobs or their education and not worry about where they will sleep at night,” explained state Sen. Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles.
Creating transfer pathways for community college students and investing $1.9 billion into college savings accounts for more than 3 million children will also be in the legislation.
The bills also include efforts to expand student financial aid, provide thousands of more spots for in-state students who want to go to a California State University or University of California school and make it easier for community college students to transfer.
According to lawmakers, the new legislation is a portion of California’s $47.1 billion higher-education budget package this year.
The seven bills signed are among the 40 higher-education proposals Newsom plans to approve.
“In order for us to thrive like we are doing today, we need 1 million more college graduates,” explained Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, to the crowd. “You, and you, and you, and everybody else in our community to get a college degree to help our state survive and thrive.”
The new investments in higher education are part of Newsom’s California Comeback Plan, which he signed in July. The $100 billion plan also includes direct payments to qualifying Californians ranging from $600-$1,100.
Wednesday’s bill signing could be one of the last Californians see this week. Newsom’s deadline to pass or veto legislation is Sunday.