Capitol Alert

Electronic GPA submissions for financial aid rise under California law

Prospective student Eva Vega is counseled on financial aid during a college workshop at the Mexican Consulate in Sacramento on Feb. 1, 2014.
Prospective student Eva Vega is counseled on financial aid during a college workshop at the Mexican Consulate in Sacramento on Feb. 1, 2014. The Sacramento Bee file

A new California law is speeding the transition away from paper financial aid applications – and could help expand access to the Cal Grant scholarship program.

Last year, the Legislature passed AB 2160, which required high schools to electronically submit grade point averages for all graduating seniors to the California Student Aid Commission. Of the more than 230,000 seniors who completed the financial aid form in 2013, about 50,000 were not considered because their GPAs could not be verified, the second in a two-step process for determining whether students qualify for the awards.

In the law’s first year of implementation, electronic GPA submissions are up about 10 percent, the commission said Thursday. Though exact figures will not be available for a few more weeks, that could mean an increase of almost 40,000 from last year, when 383,948 GPAs were submitted electronically.

The commission will still sort through about 7,000 paper applications, down dramatically from approximately 35,000 last year and 95,000 in 2008.

“There have been any numbers of different efforts with school districts” to get high schools submitting more GPAs, commission spokesman Ed Emmerson said. “The legislation certainly helped.”

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

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