RCCD 2023 Legislative Agenda
The Riverside Community College District (RCCD) Board of Trustees, the Chancellor and leadership from the three colleges have identified legislative priorities under the themes of Access, Affordability, Student Success and District Facilities. This document outlines the collective approach, action steps and strategic opportunities.
A. Theme: Access and Affordability
Financial Aid Reform
Pell Grant – A shortened FAFSA application; a $500 increase to the maximum Pell Grant award (fiscal year 2023); the extension of Pell grant eligibility for short-term training programs; and new funding for Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant programs; all positively impact the financial aid assistance to RCCD students. However, more needs to be done to streamline the verification process, and to extend Pell Grant benefits to community college students that reflect the total cost of attendance by factoring in costs for housing, food, and other basic needs.
Proposed Activities: Support US Dept. of Education and federal legislative proposals on the Higher Education Act that reduce barriers; increase award amount for total cost of education (i.e.: doubling the current Pell Grant award amount); and expand support for apprenticeship programs.
Financial Aid Reform Whitepaper
Higher Education Act FAFSA - PDF
Cal Grant - The Governor is supporting Cal Grant Reform through the budget process and has adopted the Cal Grant Equity Framework (CGEF) reflected in AB 1746 (Medina, McCarty & Leyva). The CGEF also streamlines the previous eight Cal Grants into two programs that cleanly align eligibility for any student with an income that would qualify for the Pell Grant. These changes would lead to an additional 150,000 eligible students for a Cal Grant beyond the previous years’ programs if a “revenue trigger” in May 2024 confirms there is sufficient funding on a multiyear basis available to support this expansion.
Cal Grant Reform - Encourage the Governor’s Office to provide an early guarantee for Cal Grant reform funding for the 2024-25 academic year to allow institutions adequate time to implement proposed changes. Support expanding eligibility for state programs (CalFRESH) to undocumented and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students.
Student HousingSenate Bill 169 (chaptered in 2021) appropriates $500 million in FY 21-22, and states intent to provide $750 million in FY 22-23 and FY 23-24 for the Higher Education Student Housing Grant Program.
Proposed Activities: Continue to seek state support for the District’s student housing application for planning and construction of a 400-unit student housing project (100 Moreno Valley College, 100 Norco College and 200 Riverside City College). Support additional state funding for rental assistance programs that go through the counties for community college students. Seek additional vouchers for rapid rehousing of RCCD community college students. Expand federal, state and county housing eligibility for community college students and their families.
Student Housing Whitepaper - PDF
Access to Technology
President Biden proposed a $2 trillion infrastructure plan that includes $100 billion for broadband access. In California, the Governor’s 2022-23 budget proposal includes $164.5 million for Integrated Technology at community colleges. RCCD is committed to expanding broadband access to ensure that community colleges and students can access technology equipment, including high- speed broadband internet access at home.
Proposed Activities: Seek Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and legislative support to work with Riverside County and local cities to improve broadband access in the RCCD service area, and to secure funding for RCCD technology improvements (i.e., cybersecurity training, cabling and vault systems, telecommunications infrastructure, on-campus WiFi access, and cell tower coverage).
Mental and Psychological Services
Since the COVID-19 Pandemic, RCCD and its colleges have expanded mental health and psychological services by offering on-line and telehealth services and wellness workshops. The growing need for additional on- and off-campus partnerships and increased access and utilization of counseling services is widely recognized. However, there is no one size fits all approach that will best accommodate mental health conditions and specifically address the unique needs of a diverse student body. Thus, developing an array of services and support is critical to creating an environment that allows students to pursue academic success and overall emotional well-being.
Proposed Activities: Seek US Dept. of Health and Human Services (USDHHS), CA Dept. of Social Services (CDSS), and legislative support to communicate the importance of funding mental health support services for students, especially protecting funding for counseling faculty. Identify funding sources and or resources to support external contracts with acknowledgement that different kinds of counselors are needed. Support college applications for grants. Continue to participate in the newly formed County Higher Education Consortium.
Student Health & Psychcological
Services Whitepaper - PDF
a) Foster Youth Support Services
Foster youth face a disproportionate number of barriers to accessing and persisting toward a degree, resulting in challenges for this vulnerable population. RCCD is committed to successfully transitioning these students from foster care to independence through education. RCCD receives year-to-year, nonguaranteed funding from philanthropic organizations, namely the Pritzker Foster Care Initiative and the Whittier Trust. This limited funding supports just the core programming needs for the Guardian and Phoenix Scholars programs. Finding a way to better secure support for foster youth will allow the colleges to assist current and former foster youth students in perpetuity.
Proposed Activities: Seek USDHHS, CDSS, and legislative support to secure additional investments in community college programs to support youth transitioning out of foster care, and the expansion of transitional and rapid rehousing opportunities for these youth.
b) Veterans Education
Foster Youth Support Services Whitepaper - PDF
At RCCD Colleges, Veterans are served by Veterans Resource Centers (VRC) that support Veterans and their families in pursuing higher education degrees and certificates. In 2022, leadership from Norco College championed the California Military Articulation Platform (MAP) Initiative that was formed to lead the effort to maximize Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) for all veterans and experiential learners statewide. In February 2022, the MAP 2022 Cohort was formed, consisting of 55 colleges dedicated to maximizing CPL.
Proposed Activities: Continue to work with Congressman Calvert and Congressman Takano on the implementation of HR 182 and also work with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), U.S. Department of Education (ED), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) on accessing a new protocol for JST from U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). Work with the CCC State Chancellor, CA Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Education to expand this MAP program state-wide and have the program housed at RCCD. Continue to work through the consortium, for Universities of California (UC) (California State Universities (CSU) has opened their access) to work with the CCC system and U.S. DOD to honor military instructional experience reflected on the Joint Service Transcript. Support grant submittals for Veterans Resource Centers, including Centers of Excellence and program funding for support services.
Veterans Education Whitepaper - PDF
c) Justice Involved and Formerly Incarcerated
Each of the RCCD colleges are engaged in serving the justice-involved population through programs based upon the Rising Scholars Network with linked support to the UC Underground Scholars Program and CSU Project Rebound. These programs achieved phenomenal successes while exposing institutional gaps in support for this vulnerable student population. In October 2021, the Governor signed AB 417 which formally establishes the Rising Scholars Network as a categorical program.
Proposed Activities: Continue to work with the US Department of Justice, California Department of Corrections, the State Chancellors Office, and legislators to solicit support for Justice Involved and Formerly Incarcerated students by facilitating transcript-sharing, funding instructional technology suitable for teaching incarcerated students, establishing community college partnerships with Juvenile Halls, funding mentorship and apprenticeship programs, and issuing State Identification documents. Seek additional partnerships (i.e. county and cities) for program funding support as needed.
Education for Incarcerated and Formerly
Incarcerated Program Whitepaper - PDF
d) Undocumented Students and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Faculty and college leaders support continuing protection for DACA students as well as establishing a pathway to citizenship. Approximately 75,000 DACA students are enrolled in California public, private and community colleges.
Proposed Activities: Support federal legislation that codifies DACA to establish a pathway to citizenship, expand DACA student eligibility for Pell Grants, and protect student visas. Request CARES Act eligibility for undocumented and DACA students. Request SNAP program eligibility to include DACA students. Seek state support to continue funding for Dreamer centers and resource staff liaisons at community colleges (including support for Governor’s January proposed budget for $11.6 million for Dreamer resource liaisons, $20 million emergency aid grant for AB 540 students, and funds $10 million for immigrant legal services through CDSS). Request expansion of Cal-FRESH eligibility to include DACA students. Seek funding for mental and psychological services (cultural competency).
Undocumented and DACA Whitepaper - PDF
e) LGBTQ Student Program
According to data provided by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) students are experiencing a disproportionate impact in the following areas: Retention from fall to spring semester at the same college; Completion of college level math and English in the first year; Completion of a degree or certificate; Transfer to a four-year university.
Proposed Activities: Seek legislative support to create and expand LGBTQ+ campus resource centers to provide LGBTQ+ student support that reduces or eliminates barriers to academic success and improves retention and completion rates. Establish partnerships with local community organizations that are LGBTQ+ affirming and can assist in dedicated support services and continued expansion of LGBTQ+ supportive resources.
LGBTQ Student Program Whitepaper - PDF
B. Theme: Student Success
Guided PathwaysRCCD is committed to the transformation of institutions through the full-scale adoption and implementation of Guided Pathways. This is a major transformation in the educational delivery system that requires time and resources for full implementation. Today of the over 60,000 students in the District, less than 10,000 are in Guided Pathways.
Proposed Activities: Continue to advocate for legislative and funding support of services, including new or reintroduced legislative proposals that support additional counselors, educational advisors, tutors, and supplemental instructors in well-staffed academic engagement centers to provide effective and comprehensive support systems.
Guided Pathways Whitepaper - PDF
Career & Technical Education
a) Nursing and Clinical Placements
Community colleges with Registered Nursing (RN) programs seek legislation requiring clinical institutions that accept public funds to offer clinical placements to public nursing education programs, and disallow the offering of financial incentives, including monetary donations and scholarships, from private nursing programs to clinical agencies as a means towards ensuring clinical placements.
Proposed Activities: Assisting with appeals to the California Board of Registered Nursing to preserve student access to affordable education by limiting unapproved enrollment increases for nursing programs, including community colleges. Address previous legislation (AB 1364) and BRN Sunset Bill (AB 2684) to curb oversight on faculty hiring and enrollment increases.
Registered Nursing Training
Program Whitepaper - PDF
b) Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Program
The Moreno Valley College (MVC) School of Public Safety located at the Ben Clark Training Center (BCTC) offers EMS training of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Paramedics. Riverside County and California are in a critical shortage of EMS personnel for fire departments and ambulance transport providers. The EMS program is adding a 2nd paramedic cohort starting in spring 2023.
Proposed Activities: Seek legislative support and pilot funding for cross-disciplinary programs between nursing and EMS. Advocate for more apprenticeship programs in EMS and other health services.
Emergency Medical Services
Training Whitepaper - PDF
c) High School Partnership Program, Dual-Enrollment, CCAP and Middle/Early College
In collaboration with high school partners, RCCD has developed multiple middle college/dual enrollment (AB 288) programs to address the low college-going rate in the area. RCCD plans to expand the pipeline of students entering college through dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, Summer Bridge, Upward Bound and other programs that specifically target this population.
Proposed Activities: Continue to communicate the success of these programs to elected officials. Seek policy and funding support for these “K-14” programs through federal and state legislation. Coordinate with County Office of Education and K-12 feeder districts on messaging to support joint grant applications.
High School Partnership Whitepaper - PDF
Future of Workforce DevelopmentSupport funding and resources for college-based workforce development, regional apprenticeship systems that integrate with the community college system and provide students and workers with pathways leading to higher paying careers along with portable higher educational certificates and degrees. By incorporating registered apprenticeships into its pathways, RCCD seeks to increase the percentage of degree holders in the region by providing accredited work-based learning while concurrently addressing regional industry talent needs. In partnership with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, MVC offers basic and advanced level courses in peace officer, corrections and dispatch education and training accredited by Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), Standards and Training for Corrections (STC) and Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). In addition, continue to advocate for access, affordability and equity for community college students enrolled in the Nursing program to prevent future decreased access to social mobility and a career as a registered nurse. Regular coordinated communication with state legislators, CA Board of Registered Nursing and Departments of Labor and Education.
Proposed Activities: Share information on RCCD workforce program alignments with Vision for Success, county, city and business workforce needs. Communicate with the RCCD elected delegation, Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) and prospective employers on career pathways offered at colleges in the credit, non-credit and not-for-credit courses. Support legislation that funds expansion of apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship and youth apprenticeship programs. Specifically, support funding for early capacity building projects that create sustainable and scalable apprenticeship programs embedded into the K-14 system. This includes funding for adult worker/learner apprenticeship programs, youth apprenticeship and scaled pre-apprenticeship programs. The state of California provides methods of funding apprenticeship instruction through the community colleges, but leaves the development and coordination of programs to private organizations and businesses. This model has been effective in building trades, where state public works taxes and codes provide substantial public funding and accountability for these organizations, but it has not worked in other industries that lack the same infrastructure. Community colleges can serve as intermediaries in the apprenticeship system to connect career-builders with apprenticeship opportunities and to aggregate the workforce needs of local economies. Seek continued support for the planning for the Inland Empire Technical Trade Center (IETTC). Priorities should include funding for coordination of new apprenticeship systems that institutionalize services as program enrollment grows. Track state of California efforts to update plans required by 2018 Reauthorization of Perkins Act. To fund all the advanced offer training courses at Ben Clark Training Center (BCTC), in addition to the courses RCCD have started sponsoring, would be an estimate cost of $1.5 million. This includes the classroom space, instructors, supplies and at least a part-time coordinator to work as a liaison between the college and Sheriff’s Department. Watch for California Board of Registered Nursing’s (BRN) annual report from AB 1015 implementation and also see what the impact of the nursing shortages are in the RCCD area hospitals who hire travel nurses and who are not allowing RCCD nursing students to work with the travel nurses at this time.
Next Generation Workforce
Development Whitepaper - PDF
C. Theme: District Facilities
RCCD Capitol Construction Plan (Proposition 51 Project Process)
California Community College Chancellor’s Office limits each district to submit one final project proposal (FPP) per college per year. Each district is competing with 72 districts and it is difficult to verify whether the district’s project funding proposals will be approved timely, rejected or deferred to another year. The approval of the FPP depends on scoring methodology that is adopted by the Board of Governor. The state changed the scoring methodology, which was approved by the Department of Finance in August 2020. The new scoring methodology changes the hardship provisions that impacts the district ability to submit successful project proposals without a local matching. Due to full commitment of Measure C and unsuccessful results of Measure A, the District will have no chance to have any project approved by the state moving forward. This definitely results in delays to repair and modernize college facilities that could be available for student instruction.
District Facilities Whitepaper - PDF
Deferred Maintenance and Instructional Support
The state Physical Plant and Instructional Supplies funding allocation has been declined and diminished. Therefore, unsubstantial funds are dedicated for deferred maintenance/scheduled maintenance projects for the RCCD colleges, while these deferred maintenance projects budget are being increased yearly due to aged facilities, infrastructures and systems. RCCD deferred maintenance projects for 2020-2024 is estimated in the total amount of $22 million. The same applies for instructional support including ageing equipment and technologies that need to be replaced and is estimated in the total amount of $7 million for 2020-2024.
In the 1930s, RCC was the first, and likely the only junior college to experiment with cooperative student dormitories. For the past five years, increased demand of affordable housing and rental assistance for community college students has become a yearly issue. More and more of community college students are housing insecure. The District is currently working on a student housing strategic planning framework to address the student housing issues at RCCD colleges and is also applying for state grant funds for the planning of on campus student housing.
Student Housing Whitepaper - PDF
Inland Empire Technical Trade Center
Partnering with the Inland Empire Labor Council, Building Trades Council, SW Carpenters, IBEW and others, RCCD will continue to plan for a regional Inland Empire Trade Technology Center to meet the current and future workforce plans in the region with funding from federal, state and local resources.
Proposed Activities: Advocate for annual increase of Physical Plant and Instructional Support’s funding allocation in order to provide reasonable annual budget for scheduled maintenance projects that are desperately needed by RCCD colleges. Streamline the capital outlay process in order to expedite the approval process and provide a balance in the requirements within the new scoring methodology that could serve the region with high needs such as Inland Empire. Beyond Proposition 51, staff will look at any federal and state funding opportunities to address deference maintenance projects, support community college student housing on and off campus planning grant application, advocate for rental assistance program; the IETTC in partnership with Inland Empire Labor Council, Building Trades Council, SW Carpenters, IBEW and others; and implementation of federal and state broadband funds.
Inland Empire Technical Trade
Center Whitepaper - PDF