Free Money For Students

El Vaquero Staff Writer

“Raising the [enrollment] fees reduces the opportunity for students to attend school and that is why the financial aid center is gearing up to help students cover these fees with the state grant fee waiver,” said Steve White, vice president of Glendale Community College, on the issue of enrollment fee increases.

The financial aid center recently organized a fair to gear up students to apply for financial aid. The grants that were mainly discussed during the fair were the state grant better known as BOG, which stands for Board of Governors’ Fee Waiver, and the federal Pell grant. “During the fair, the staff let the public know what financial aid consists of and helped them fill out the forms,” said Patricia Hurley, associate dean for the financial aid office.

According to the financial aid office even though there has been an increase of applicants during the last two years, there is still a large number of non-applicants. There are many reasons why students do not apply for financial aid.

“They do not know about it or they do not believe fees are too high,” said Hurley. Another speculation for why students do not apply, according to Hurley, is students believe that if they get financial aid in community college they will not qualify when they transfer. “This is not true,” said Hurley. The financial office encourages everyone to apply.

According to the governor state budget proposal this year, the Cal Grant B reduction will not affect community college students. Community college students will have a minimal decrease of this grant when it is time to transfer. Cal Grant awards are state funded monetary grants given to students to help pay for college expenses. The awards do not have to be paid back.

Financial aid will help students with high fees that seem to be going up lately said White. This year the legislative and the governor raised the fees from $11 to $18 a unit, a $7 increase. “There has been a decline in enrollment [at the college] during this last year because of this fee increase,” said White.

The governor also plans on raising these fees even higher by this fall. It is to go up from $18 to $26 a unit. “Plus, those that hold a bachelor degree that go back to community college will have to pay $50 a unit,” said Cheryl Phong, the official spokesperson for the chancellor of California Community Colleges.

“This is not right for those that are already highly educated and come back to college to get retained and upgrade their education,” said Phong.

According to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors for the past two years any increases in enrollment fees at community colleges would be gradual, predictable and moderate. Countering this statement Phong said, “This is not true when students are faced with a 68% increase on [enrollment] fees within a year.”

Luckily, students are still able to apply for financial aid to avoid the fees. The Cal Grant deadline is extended for community college students until Sept. 2.

“The financial aid staff provides help with questions and filling out form,” said Hurley. The financial aid will help restore the economic problems of the students said White. “We do not want fees to be the factor in distorting people from coming to college,” said White.