The California Community Colleges Board of Governors approved new fee waiver regulations last week requiring students to meet minimum academic and progress standards to remain eligible for the BOG fee waiver.
Under the new regulations, students would lose eligibility for the BOG fee waiver if they‘re on probation for not maintaining a 2.0 GPA for two consecutive primary terms or not successfully completing half the units attempted in that period, according to a press release by the Chancellor’s office.
“We will do everything in our power to help students on financial aid succeed, but students need to know that they have a responsibility to keep up their end of the bargain,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris. “This policy provides students with incentives to meet standards that will ultimately help them achieve their educational goals. It benefits students and it is responsible stewardship of the state resources.”
In the 2012-13 academic year, PCC issued over 36,000 fee waivers to students, according to the financial aid office.
Some students are in favor of these new regulations.
“Students at PCC take the fee waiver for granted. If they can not take the hint after two semesters they need to be dropped,” said Luis Rodriguez, communications. “If they can not maintain a C-average they wont be kicked out of school they just have to pay for their own classes.”
Community college fees are currently $46 per unit. With most classes being about three units, it will cost a student without a fee waiver about $138 per class.
College officials emphasize the support system available to all students.
“Any student that applies for financial aid should also meet with a counselor so that the student can have a clear plan of their academic progress and I am positive that our students will rise to the occasion,” said Kim Miles, Dean of the Financial Aid office.
The district also lent its support to the waiver in a prepared statement.
“The district has always strongly supported the BOG fee waiver for students who can not afford to pay the fees,” the statement reads. “Now that the Board of Governors has issued a new directive, effective in fall 2016, to require that BOG waiver students must maintain a 2.0 average, the District must of coarse comply.”
“We will work hard in the coming year to make sure that every student has both the financial aid and the academic support to move successfully to graduate and transfer,” College President and Superintendent Mark Rocha said. “We do not want this regulation to adversely affect any PCC student.”
Foster students are exempted from the policy and the board of governors will be studying possible additional exemptions in the future.
Districts are required to establish appeals processes that students can use to demonstrate extenuating circumstances.