Good news! The Governor signed SB 169, the higher education trailer bill that creates the new $2 billion Higher Education Student Housing Grant Program.
Click here for a detailed summary of the program parameters specified by SB 169.
Click here for additional information about the passage of SB 169 by the Legislature.
We know there are many questions regarding the implementation of this program and wanted to provide some additional detail that we’ve received in conversations with the Administration.
We have been told that districts will have the ability to submit applications directly to the Department of Finance (DOF). Applications for the first round of funding are due to DOF by October 31, 2021. DOF will submit a list of projects proposed for funding to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee by March 1, 2022. Projects will be selected based on review and discussion in the Legislature’s budget development process. $250 million will be available for community colleges in the program’s first year.
The final application is still in development and we expect it to be released shortly by DOF. They have indicated that the application will be similar to the Capital Outlay Budget Change Proposal form (COBCP). The COBCP form is more commonly used by the Chancellor’s Office to submit capital outlay Final Project Proposal requests to DOF in the annual budget process.
DOF has indicated they will release additional guidance on how to complete elements of the application, including more specificity on how to complete the affordability calculation.
SB 169 requires student housing proposals to include:
Number of students to be housed
Timeline for the project
Financial feasibility of the project
Anticipated impact on the campus’s ability to accommodate California resident enrollment growth
A commitment to construct the project within the resource needs identified in the proposal
Any other information deemed necessary for evaluation
SB 169 is silent on the state/local match for this program. DOF has indicated that the program was originally intended to provide 100% state funding for construction, but they will accept proposals that include a local share and leverage other funding sources. DOF has stated that they would like the proposal to specify the additional features of the project that can be attributed to the state’s involvement, such as additional beds, increased services to residents, or deeper affordability of rents.
Districts may submit requests for planning grants for campuses that are exploring or determining if it is feasible to offer affordable student housing. SB 169 expresses intent to use up to $25 million to support planning grants. Planning grants may be used for: feasibility studies, engineering studies, financing studies, environmental impact studies, architectural plans, application fees, legal services, permitting costs, bonding, or site preparation.
Projects that receive planning grants may submit a request in subsequent years for construction funding. CCFC has asked for additional information on the application process for these planning grants.
There is a lot of excitement surrounding this program, and we know that colleges are eager to get started on their applications. CCFC will provide additional information to our members as it becomes available. Stay tuned!
CCFC Legislative Advocate