Paving the Path to College Aid: Expanding Access to the Cal Grant Program


While California has steadily improved its Cal Grant application rates, it can do even better.

Paving the Path to College Aid: Expanding Access to the Cal Grant Program looks at promising practices for increasing Cal Grant application rates, including the initial implementation of AB 2160, a new law introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting and sponsored by Ed Trust–West, to streamline the Cal Grant application process by requiring that high schools submit GPAs electronically. The brief outlines tangible practices that county offices of education, districts, and schools are using to meet this new requirement and increase Cal Grant access, and concludes with recommendations for ways state and local leaders can further improve access to financial aid.

Additional resources for improving equity in California’s Cal Grant program
For more on increasing college access and success, check out our Policy Agenda

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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.