Transferring, more discussed via town hall

By Sonny Tapia

Vice presidents, deans and chair people of East Los Angeles College answered questions from students about international student success, tutoring, admissions, transferring and counseling.

On Friday, a Coffee with the Presidents webinar was held for students to ask any questions that they may have about school topics and regulations for the current semester.

There are constant updates on the school’s social media pages about transferring to UCs and Cal States. The deadline for UC applications is Nov. 30 and the deadline for CSUs is Dec. 4.

Students can attend live Zoom sessions for help from the Transfer Center. 

“Students that are thinking of applying usually don’t think they have the capacity to qualify for a UC, but they do,” Transfer Center Director Kirby Dominguez said.

Students that wish to be reinstated after completing a degree’s requirements can get in touch with the Admissions Office to be reinstated for the following semesters.

Students that do this will not lose their status or their registration eligibility. Instead, they will receive priority registration.

If students apply for a transfer and are rejected or wish to continue with extra courses at ELAC, this is how they can move forward.

Throughout the meeting, participants shared their screens to display that a student or potential student can access everything from the ELAC website.

There are after-hour tutoring options for students who are available on weekends as well. Students may use NetTutor to access tutoring for subjects like English and math.

Students wishing to receive tutoring in more specific courses can contact the Language Lab and Learning Center.

“They both offer tutoring outside of math and english. We also add tutoring for chemistry, physics and other STEM areas through the STEM/MESA Center link on the student portal and ELAC website,” Vice President of Liberal Arts and Sciences Ruben Arenas said.

Dean of Learning Support Services Gina Chelstrom said that the Learning Center is a great place for students to get access to specific tutoring and that the center is open Monday through Friday.

Chelstrom said live chats for tutoring are available for students that wish to have a more personal approach to tutoring. Students that need to speak with a tutor immediately can access the ELAC website and enter the tutor’s live chat or they can email the tutor directly and receive a response.

Homeless students can acquire assistance through the Student Health Center. Students can have a private interview with a staff member to assess their needs.

The Student Health Center is continuing its partnership with Via Care, which has hired a social worker to help  students with food instability and financial woes.

“We now have a social worker in the Health Services Department on the website. Via Care can connect students in need with a social worker to get support for food, CARES Act funding, computer technology and hot spots,” Vice President of Student Services Julie Benavides said.

ELAC works with Los Angeles County to provide help for students to connect them with local food banks and housing near their campus.

The college also works with the American Job Center of California to get students on track with a career path and the right courses to reach their goal.

The AJCC offers free non-credit courses, career pathways, undocumented student services and access to entreprenuerships.

The Financial Aid Office offers services through the ELAC website as well. Financial Aid Manager Lindy Fong said that students can apply for a fee waiver on the website directly.

She also said that any student that applies for the FAFSA or Dream Act, automatically qualifies for the fee waiver.

Students that are in need of help with financial aid can call the phone service to get help from a service representative and be put on the right track to receive proper help.

The representatives can answer specific questions and can also inform a student that applies for FAFSA if they need to send additional documentation to receive benefits.

If a student does need to submit additional info, then the representatives will inform the student to use the link on the website to see directions on how to do that.

“For a student that wants to know what their financial aid eligibility is, should go to the financial aid link on the website to see the requirements,” Fong said.

A student that is eligible for the voucher program can receive food vouchers, technology assistance and book vouchers. This opportunity is available to all students including the CARES Act funding.

Something that was advocated throughout the webinar was students asking questions and giving feedback to the school’s officials.

International students are getting the same help they have received before the pandemic started. They are also being informed about the updates to the proposed visa change made by President Donald Trump.

“The ASU and International Student Program had a forum in July to discuss the proposed changes,” International Student Counselor Michelle Hernandez-Payan said.

“The program is providing support for our students and updates through counseling appointments, workshops, live chats and emails,” she said.

President Alberto Roman said that the information received from students is crucial in order to figure out the scheduling of courses.

Roman also said that the feedback is useful to the officials at the school. When students reply to the surveys that are sent to their emails, they are seen by a department representative and officials within LACCD.

Roman said this feedback allows the schools within the district to make better choices and be a better program all around.  

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