B.O.G. fee waiver set to change

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By Danny Heflin / Asst. News Editor

By Danny Heflin / Asst. News Editor

The Community College League of California has recommended that qualifications of the Board of Governors fee waiver mirror the requirements of the Pell Grant.

With falling budgets throughout the nation and California in particular, all departments are taking cuts.

With increasing enrollment, fewer classes, less funding and a lower number of students receiving degrees, certificates or transferring to four year institutions the Community College League of California has proposed a plan called “2020 Vision Student Success.”

The plan has many aspects to increase degree receivership by over 1 million by 2020. One of these plans includes changes to who can receive the wavier and for how long.

Currently there are three parts to qualify for the fee waiver. First under waiver A, students can apply and have automatic eligibility if on Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, or another county assistance program.

Also dependents of deceased or disabled veterans, a recipient or the dependent of a recipient of the Medal of Honor, dependent of a victim of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, or the dependent of a law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty, are eligible.

Waiver B is qualified by income levels 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines.

Or with waiver C to a student that after other state and federal programs still has a need.

At this time there is no time frame one can be on this program, no GPA or progress requirements.

Vision 2020 wants to change this by making Board of Governors waivers A, B, C all mirror Pell Grant Guidelines.

The guidelines at the Riverside Community College District are that the student maintain a 2.0 GPA on all attempted classes, must complete 67 percent of all courses attempted and must complete before acquiring 90 units.

“By establishing similar satisfactory academic progress requirements for students seeking the B.O.G. waiver, course retention may increase and time-to-completion may decrease,” the 2020 Vision Report of the Commission states.

The report summarizes a desire to keep California schools affordable and these guidelines will insure that students finish their course of studies in a timely manner and open up classes to new students to increase the number of Californians receiving degrees.

“A Community College League report by Scott Lay showed that over half of African-Americans receiving B.O.G. fee waiver are below 2.0 GPA,” said RCCD Student Trustee Nick Bygon

Bygon said that it would put African-American students at a disadvantage to change the fee waiver to a performance based program.

“Students might decide ‘I need to study to bring my GPA up,'” said RCC President Cynthia Azari. “The district is down 8,000 students from two years ago; that is 8000 less students we can service.”

Some students are in agreement but not about the timing.  

“Well I personally think that the B.O.G waiver should have no time limit but I do think that it should be based on GPA instead of letting it be whatever,” said RCC student Melanie Hirth. “I think there should be no time limit because some students may need it for more than three years because of the low income.”

Although some of the recommendations of this report have been instituted, the state legislature as not enacted this recommendation at this time.

The RCC Financial Aid department did say the proposed increase in per unit fees would be covered per current guide lines by the B.O.G. fee waiver.

“So if you want to be in college you need to work hard and bring your GPA up,” Azari said. “We also need to provide support services.”

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