H-CENTRAL COAST

Feb 27, 2012 9:07 PM by Nikki Ibarra

California Community College Fee Waiver recipients on the rise

According to California Community College Chancellor, Jack Scott, more students are receiving fee waivers this year.

The state-issued fee waivers helps qualified low-income students pay tuition. Since more students are receiving them, the 112-campus system faces a $149 million deficit. This is on top of an already $400 million cut from the state for community colleges this year alone.

According to the community college system, they are seeing an increase in students receiving help because of the weak economy.

For Allan Hancock College freshman Natali Camacho, her part-time job is hardly getting her through school. "Right now, I work and my hours are close to nothing," said Camacho. However, she qualifies for the Board of Governor's Fee Waiver Program.

"Having my fees waived is defintely helping," said Camacho.

This is also the case for Raquel Ramirez. "For us, we come from far away. Driving, gas money, plus school money, plus books, plus supplies. It would be really hard," said Allan Hancock freshman, Ramirez.

On average, 60% of the student body at Allan Hancock qualify for the fee waiver program.

"There's people that don't even have jobs at all, and they get to go to school for free, you know. You need school for a future," said sophomore, Jordan Souza.

For the 2009-2010 school year, 6,929 students at Hancock received help. At Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, for the 2011-2012 school year, 5,965 students recieved help.

"They help me and my family because I have three younger sisters, as well. So they have to worry about their schooling and it just helps a lot," said freshman, Ana Terrazas.

But then there's some students, like sophomore, William Bruce, who doesn't qualify for financial assistance. "I have to work just to pay for gas to get to school. But, I mean, if they pay for my college and all that, I could just go to school and just study the whole time when I'm working. That would help out a lot," said Bruce.

The numbers for Cuesta and Allan Hancock are expected to rise because the school year is not over.

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