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Student fees may face increase

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By Candice Phalen / Asst. News Editor

By Candice Phalen / Asst. News Editor

California Community colleges are widely known as a way to get an education without the high cost of a private school or university tuition looming in the background.

That reputation may be in jeopardy due to a potential student fee increase.

The wide variety of classes provided to students has been reduced immensely leaving students struggling to find classes to take.

The waitlists for classes grow larger and many people are becoming more frustrated.

“It’s just another product of our horrible economy,” said Jillian Curiel, a RCC student who has dealt with waitlisted classes. “I could only take one class last semester because I couldn’t get in to any of the other ones I needed.”

While many suggestions for possible solutions have arisen, the Legislative Analyst’s Office has proposed an increase in student fees to help subside the problem.

The office suggested that the state increase community college fees from $26 a unit to $40, an almost 50 percent increase.

The increase in fees would help enrollment growth and eliminate proposed budget cuts in other areas of the educational system.

California is considering lowering funding in many areas such as teacher payroll and less advanced learning tools in order to aid a plethora of financial problems it currently has, so this may be the answer. But many students don’t think so.

“I hate the budget problems we have, but I hate this idea even more,” Curiel said, “I don’t qualify for financial aid, but just barely.”

The increase may make it even more difficult for students to complete their goals of continuing their education.

“I work 40 hours a week to pay my tuition and rent. That supports my full-time student habit. If they increase tuition, I don’t know how I’m going to support myself,” Curiel said.

The $14 increase is not set in stone yet. The increase could range between the current cost and the maximum amount, so it is entirely possible that the cost might only go up a few dollars.

Students currently receiving financial aid like the Pell Grant or the Board of Governors fee waiver will be largely unaffected for the next school year, provided they qualify again.

“Financial aid will still be available, so it’s important for students to remember that,” said Jim Buysse, vice chancellor of Administration and Finance at RCC.

It is not clear if and when these changes will occur.

“In this economic climate, and with the state’s budget difficulty, the situation is quite uncertain,” Buysse said.

“For now, however, it’s important to note that we’ll see a lot of things floated in the press and elsewhere regarding the matter. One shouldn’t get too excited about all of that,” he said, “It’s part of the annual budget process in Sacramento.”

The decision will not be made until later this year.

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