Statewide changes may affect students’ financial aid status

ISABELLE SINIBALDI, Channels Staff

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Community college students in California will be held to a higher school standard to receive tuition funding.

The change to the Board of Governors Fee Waiver is set to start in fall 2016 and now holds students to an academic standard.

The funding requires students to have a 2.0 GPA minimum and to complete 50 percent of their attempted coursework to have their tuition waived. To receive this funding before was based only on financial need.

40 percent of students enrolled at City College currently depend on the funding to pay for their tuition.

Despite the change, most students feel that the requirements are fair.

“It will hopefully get people who qualify for it to not freeload,” said sophomore Jillian Holm. “I know some people who do qualify for it who have just been here forever barely doing anything, and I think that could kick their butts and get them to focus more.”

The change is due to the Student Success Act of 2012 that was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown to ensure city college students in California meet academic and progress standards in order to have their tuition waived.

“Students who are being more successful are going to be receiving the money,” stated Isaac Eaves, associated student government president. “On top of it being a motivator for the current students to keep their grades up and to be successful in 50 percent of their classes.”

Eaves supports the new requirements because he feels that the money is going to be distributed to students in good academic standing with exceptional financial needs instead of students who aren’t performing well overall in their classes. He also noted that the change in requirements “will reach the mission of the college better” by speeding up the transfer process in order for students to move on to a university more quickly. Eaves explained that students would be forced to complete their coursework faster or risk losing their funding.

According to Barbara Bermudes, City College’s interim financial aid director, the change may affect enrollment at the college down the line. She said that the change might mostly affect students who are struggling or at risk.

“The students do need to sustain a 2.0 or greater GPA,” Bermudes said. “So I think in the future it could impact our students and if they don’t receive the BOG it could force students to drop out of college.”

Bermudes said she doesn’t know much about the program, as the logistics of running it haven’t been implemented yet.

“It’s all very new to us,” she stated. “I don’t know who is taking ownership of this. It’s really a student services issue, it’s not really a financial aid issue.”

Sophomore Danyelle Kelly is one of the students who receive the board funding. She explains that the change can make it difficult for students because they can’t drop classes and continue to receive the funding, and therefore have to stay in classes they won’t perform in.

“If they just cut all of your funding like that and you have no way to get here then you can’t get a better education,” Kelly said.

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