California could mull universal basic income program for some CSU students

California
A student bikes pass the Walter Pyramid at Cal State Long Beach.(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

A student bikes pass the Walter Pyramid at Cal State Long Beach.(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

California could send $500 a month with no strings attached to college students from low-income families as part of the Legislature’s latest approach to a guaranteed basic income plan.

State Sen. Dave Cortese (D-San Jose) is considering legislation that would create a pilot program at select California State University campuses, issuing monthly stipends for one year to students whose family income is in the bottom 20% of earners in the state. Up to 14,000 students could be eligible.

Nearly 11% of the CSU system’s 480,000-plus students said they experienced homelessness in 2018, according to a report from the Office of the Chancellor. More than 40% of CSU students reported food insecurity. For Black, first-generation college students, it was worse, with nearly 70% reporting food insecurity and 18% experiencing homelessness.

“College students are couch surfing and sleeping in their cars. This could be enough money to rent a room, and if you don’t need a room, by all means, use it for what you do need it for,” Cortese said in an interview. “It’s like a booster shot. It could help get them off of this treadmill and stop them from dropping out, being on the streets and becoming homeless long term.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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