Cal Poly to implement new fee aimed at helping low-income students

Posted at 10:22 PM, Sep 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-14 01:22:00-04

Cal Poly will implement a new fee aimed at helping certain students in California.

The Cal Poly Opportunity Fee is designed to help low-income and first-generation undergraduate students in the state, who otherwise couldn’t afford to go to Cal Poly.  The school hopes this will create greater access to Cal Poly and increase diversity on campus.

All newly enrolled out-of-state undergraduate students would have to pay the fee. It would begin in fall of 2019 and be phased in over four years.  Current students would not have to pay the fee. Graduate students would also not pay the fee, but in-state graduate students will not be eligible to receive support from the fee either.

The new fee will allow the school to expand its Scholars programs and improve financial assistance for people who are academically qualified to go to Cal Poly, but who can’t afford attending.

"The Cal Poly Opportunity Fee will improve our already renowned Learn by Doing education by opening our doors to hundreds of academically excellent students who otherwise would not have the opportunity," Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong said. "The diverse backgrounds and experiences these students will bring to Cal Poly will benefit all of our students and our entire campus community. And our state will benefit in turn from the hands-on experience, problem-solving acumen and collaborative spirit these scholars will bring to their careers after graduation."

The new fee was first proposed in winter of 2018. The university asked the campus community for feedback and announced a revised plan on Thursday.  The fee is modeled off the Cal Poly Scholars program, which provides scholarships to students from California partner high schools.  School leaders say the program has been successful in improving retention rates among first-generation and low-income students.

The number of out-of-state students admitted to Cal Poly is capped at 15 percent.