Spring 2009 enrollment peaks

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By Amy Warshauer

By Amy Warshauer

Has enrollment for fall semester at Riverside City College taken a plummet with the economy?

Despite disappointing economic trends, registration for spring of 2009 has peaked at 37,045 students, amounting to about 21 percent over the previous spring and fall semesters of 2008.

With the country on a downhill financial spiral, it may seem transitive that enrollment numbers would be down due to admittance costs.

However, according to admission records, 31,104 students were enrolled for spring of 2008, about a 10 percent increase from the previous year, and 36,866 students were enrolled for last fall, figuring at about a 13 percent increase.

Still, students remain burdened by the fees that come at the expense of education.

While many fortunates have been able to maintain their working status, others have not been so lucky as a result of job cutbacks caused by the struggling economy.

When money runs low, some may find it difficult to maintain a college career when their primary living needs have to be dealt with foremost.

But, a solution can be granted in financial aid for those who wish to continue school but are sweating the costs.

“It is really hard to struggle with the stress of school, homework, the worry of money, and trying to find a job these days,” Cristina Vasquez said, “I have been looking everywhere and cannot find a job, I could not go to school if I was not getting financial help.”

Vasquez is not alone, this year to date figures for specific financial aid programs are increasing.

Cal Grant C, which assists with tuition and training costs for occupational programs, currently has 216 students enrolled.

The Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant is providing 767 students with need based grants for undergraduates.

Presently benefiting from Cal Grant B are 1,245 students who are getting aided in pay for tuition, living allowance and fee assistance for those with low income.

And the Pell Grant Program that assists low income undergraduates has accepted 6,857 students so far.

Aside from these programs are also student loans, the Federal Work Study Program and the Board of Governors Fee Waiver, which have not yet been calculated for their year to date status count.

However, with the accounted programs alone, 9,085 Riverside City College attendees are getting the help they need to continue their college career.

“I feel really thankful that I am able to get some help with money through college,” Mike Vernon said as he smiled, “I want to have a career one day, and if I cannot go to school then I don’t think there is a good chance that I would ever get a really good job. . . especially since right now I can’t even get a part time job at Burger King.”

Students may seek help regarding financial aid in the Student Financial Services office located near the admissions building and RCC staff members are more than happy to lend a helping hand to students filling out financial aid applications.

Assistance has also been made available for help in filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in two upcoming meetings, April 8 from 1 p.m.-2 p.m. in room BE208, and April 23 from 4 p.m.-5 p.m. in room BE208.

However, FAFSA applications are also available online through the Riverside Community College District web site for those who do not feel the need to attend the service meetings.

The link to the FAFSA Web site, http://www.fafsa.ed.gov, is listed under the financial aid section and takes students through a few simple (and free) steps for completion of the application.

While most of the work can be done online, it is necessary to also meet with the Student Financial Services following the submission of the application to present the necessary information to finish the procedure.

After undergoing the process, students have a very promising opportunity to attain financial aid.

However, keep in mind that the monetary help is considered supplemental to personal resources, and should not be used as dependency for non scholarly needs.

But for those seeking funds strictly for college, there are a substantial amount of different programs to suit the specific needs of each person and ensure that everyone gets the help needed for success.

Programs ranging from student loans, fee waivers, grants from the state, federal government specialized community programs and even opportunities for on and off campus jobs with Federal Work Study/ Student Employment Programs.

Struggling students are not alone in their journey through college, there is always help. And true to their word, the Riverside City Campus Mission Statement for Student Financial Services will “provide guidance and service to all persons seeking financial assistance while pursuing their educational goals.”

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