It is a perilous time to be a college student depending on the state of California to get through school.
Some 335,500 students going to California colleges this fall have qualified for Cal Grants because their family incomes are so low. They need the grants to pay tuition, buy books or cover basic living expenses.
But without a budget for the 2010-11 year, the state is not sending out any Cal Grants.
State budgets have been late for so many years now that larger institutions have adapted. Campuses in the University of California and California State University systems will front the Cal Grant money to their students, then get reimbursed when a budget is signed.
But at most community colleges and some private schools, California's poorest college students are in limbo until lawmakers hammer out a budget deal – now more than seven weeks late.