ELAC anticipates tuition fee hikes

By Eric Contreras

Governor Jerry Brown released his revised state budget on Monday, which included an increase in community college tuition based on Senate Bill 70 proposed in March.

The May Revise said that the $10 per unit tuition fee increase, from $26 to $36, originally proposed in the January budget will go into effect for Summer 2011.

Many Elans are concerned about whether or not they will be able to pay for tuition in the future.

“I’m not sure if this price increase will affect me, since I will be applying for financial aid.

“Without financial aid, I do not know if I’ll be attending fall semester,” said Francisco Jaime, a new student enrolling at ELAC.

Incoming high school students now face the threat of not being able to afford classes as well as competition from California State University and University of California students trying to take classes at ELAC.

“I am here to take a few classes to switch careers and find a new job, but with the price increase, I am not sure if I am going to be able to afford coming back to school.

“I know I do not qualify for financial aid, and with less classes being offered, it seems impossible to finish your degree fast anymore,” said Amy Dozal, a potential new student at ELAC.

Current Elan Gil Milanes said, “If it wasn’t for my Cal Grant, I would not be able to afford the $26 a unit tuition, let alone the added cost of books. I didn’t even know there was a price increase.”

He discussed working full-time for minimum wage as many of his friends attending ELAC do.

“Just getting minimum wage, it does not give me enough money to pay my bills, let alone afford to pay for classes,” said Milanes.

“A lot of students might be putting education on the back burner until they save up enough cash to afford it,” said Milanes.

“Everyone should go and apply for financial aid and the Board of Governors Grant fee waiver and let ‘us’ decide if you qualify or not, do not disqualify yourself with out trying,” said Vice President of Student Services Oscar Valeriano.

Valeriano feels many students are coming from middle-income families who are afraid to apply for financial aid and will be paying a lot for tuition.

Valeriano advises ELAC students to apply for the BOGG waiver and scholarships to help stay in school.

“School is so important for our community because many of the students here come from the surrounding neighborhoods such as Monterey Park, Montebello, Rosemead, San Gabriel, Alhambra, East L.A. and so on.

“By graduating they can help better our community in various ways,” Valeriano said.

He feels there will be a decline in enrollment due to some students not being able to afford the increased cost of tuition.

As part of the revised budget, the tuition fee increase will create $110 million to help more students attend college throughout the 2011- 12 year.

However, the funds created will help offset a $400 million budget cut, so the overall cut will be $290 million.

Regardless of the lessened budget cut, approximately 140,000 class seats will be lost.

Because it is still up for vote in the state legislature, the fees have potential to be raised if it is not approved.

As part of the revised budget, the CCC system will be required to pay less of its debt back to the state.

Instead of paying $961 million, the CCC system will be paying $611 million.

Brown had approved the SB 70, which was deemed The Education Trailer Bill, on March 24, 2011 as his first big change to California’s higher education system.

The bill said that the increased funds from the CCC price-per-unit increase would help fund more programs as well as strengthen and improve Career and Technical Education.

According to the California Department of Education, hundreds of thousands of students will benefit from the CTE program and will service both at a secondary and community college level.

Edgar Lopez contributed to this story.


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