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California may soon experiment with giving $500 a month to low-income students in the California State University system, the Los Angeles Times reported. State Senator Dave Cortese 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 percent of earners in the state. Up to 14,000 students could be eligible. A three-campus plan would cost the state about $57 million, and a five-campus plan would cost about $84 million, according to Cortese.

He cited statistics showing that nearly 11 percent of the Cal State system’s 480,000-plus students said they experienced homelessness in 2018. More than 40 percent of Cal State students reported food insecurity. For Black, first-generation college students, it was worse, with nearly 70 percent reporting food insecurity and 18 percent 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. “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.”