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Debt-free college: California’s on the verge of spending over a half-billion dollars to help 360,000 students

California is on track to remove any reason for its public university students to take out student loans.

Known as Middle Class Scholarship 2.0, the “debt-free” program is slated to receive its first infusion of money this summer: a cool $632 million that lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom promised in last year’s state budget that they said they’d fund this year. 

Bills to aid community college adjuncts advance in California Assembly

Assemblymember Jose Medina, D-Riverside, author of a bill to increase community college adjunct professors' teach loads, speaking on the Assembly floor in 2017.

Two bills designed to improve the working conditions of part-time community college professors were easily approved by the state Assembly Higher Education Committee on Tuesday, but questions remain as to whether they will become law.

California's Assembly Higher Education Committee chairman reflects on last term

Assemblyman Jose Medina, who chairs the Assembly’s Committee on Higher Education, recently announced he would not seek re-election in 2022.

Medina, a Riverside Democrat, was first elected in 2012 to represent the 61st district. Before entering the Legislature, he worked as a Spanish and Chicano studies teacher at Riverside’s Poly High School and taught history at San Bernardino Valley Community College.

Medina sat down with EdSource for an interview about his legislative career and what his priorities are for higher education funding in the year ahead.

California first to require high school ethnic studies, under Riverside legislator’s bill

Beginning with the Class of 2030, California high school students must pass an ethnic studies class to graduate, after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a Riverside legislator’s bill into law Friday, Oct. 8, making the state the first with such a requirement.

The third time was the charm for Assembly Member Jose Medina, D-Riverside, a former ethnic studies teacher at Riverside’s Poly High School and an ex-Jurupa school board member.

California makes ethnic studies a high school requirement

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Along with English, science, math and other graduation requirements, California high school students will have to take a course in ethnic studies to get a diploma starting in 2029-30.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Friday that makes California among the first in the nation to list ethnic studies as a graduation requirement for all public high school students.

Assemblyman Jose Medina, a Democrat from Riverside who authored the legislation that has been years in the making, called it a huge step for California.

California becomes first state to require ethnic studies in high school

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation Friday making California the first state to require all students to complete a semester-long course in ethnic studies to earn a high school diploma.

The mandate will take effect starting with the graduating class of 2029-30, although high schools must start to offer courses starting in the 2025-26 school year. Hundreds of high schools already have such courses, and Los Angeles Unified and Fresno Unified voted last year to require students to take ethnic studies.

New Law Opens Door to More Bachelor’s Degree Options at Community Colleges

Legislation that eases the way for community college students to earn bachelor’s degrees in specific workforce fields not offered by the University of California or California State University was signed Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Assembly Bill 927 eliminates the 2026 sunset date on 15 existing baccalaureate degree programs and opens the door to as many as 30 new bachelor’s programs per year at any of the state’s 116 community colleges. The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Jose Medina (D-Riverside), who chairs the Higher Education Committee.