By Amanda Mayberry
As a result of recent budget cuts, the Los Angeles Community College District has discontinued the $15 a semester I-TAP program, and is now offering the College/Vocational TAP.
The College/Vocational TAP allows students to buy monthly reduced passes for $36 per month.
Students who have 12 units or more must fill out an application,which can be found at the fiscal office on campus or on the Los Angeles Metro website, but must be turned into a Metro Customer Center.
This raises cost of transportation for full-time students from $15 a semester to $144 a semester.
That’s more than nine times the price it used to be.
The reduced TAP cards used to be available on campus for easy access for students.
Now students have to travel out of their way to turn in applications to the Metro Customer Center.
The closest customer center near East Los Angeles College, could be located on the corner of Ford and Whittier, but even after turning in applications, students must wait almost a month to receive their passes.
These are not the only inconveniences students are now experiencing with the new TAP cards.
Students are now being forced to find other means of transportation.
Some are now carpooling, while many others, like Juan Hernandez, are choosing simply to walk.
Hernandez is upset about the discontinuation.
When asked how he felt about it Hernandez said, “I am really mad because now I have to pay almost $200 for the semester.”
Hernandez said he doesn’t live exactly walking distance from campus, but has no other choice but to walk, since riding the bus is now too expensive.
The cost of being a student seems to be quickly rising.
Society encourages that people seek to extend their education, and apparently more and more people are taking the offer seriously.
ELAC alone has over 25,000 students.
Not too long ago, Los Angeles voters agreed to raise taxes to help fund local schools.
Even our own community is giving a thumb up to our education. So how is it that somehow the student’s end of the stick seems to be getting shorter and shorter?
The focus of higher education is supposed to be the students, but resources seem to be more limited.
Though ELAC is supposed to be expanding, it appears to be doing the exact opposite.
Classrooms are overflowing into the hallways with students struggling to gain a seat.
With the cost of classes at $36 per unit and book prices gone up along with other typical student expenses, this new bus pass is just another chunk out of our meager student wallets while financial aid rates, for those who even qualify, are staying the same.
Students are being forced to work harder and harder to retain their education.
Now, even something as simple as public transit is a luxury only affordable to some students.
Higher education is becoming more costly, and is all too quickly turning itself into more of a burden than the privilege it used to be.