Teleconference with Chancellor Eloy Oakley Ortiz

A teleconference with Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley was organized on 22nd October 2019 to keep the people of California updated with top legislative priorities of California community colleges, the new Senate Bill 291.

A new bill was proposed that would help cover the total cost of community college for college students was announced by Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley in a teleconference on Tuesday. Chancellor Oakley spoke in detail about the idea behind this new financial grant for low income students.

“This is a new grant, which would help students cover the total cost of attending and succeeding in college. So let me give you some of the underlying principles of the proposal. All California community college students with financial need should be eligible to receive financial aid, regardless of their age, how long it’s taking them to get out of high school or how long after high school they come to college, or their high school grades.

Students financial aid should be linked to the total cost of attendance, not just tuition and fees, but also things like housing, food, transportation and supplies. These are the real costs of going to community college students should have access to financial aid regardless of the students educational goals. That is regardless of whether the student seeks to complete a degree, a certificate or a short term career technical education program. Financial Aid should be available equitably,” Oakley said.

“More than half of the students attending a California community college, have trouble affording balanced meals, or they worry about running out of food and nearly one in five are either homeless or do not have a stable place to live. According to the survey, a combined 52% of students said they either couldn’t afford to eat balanced meals or worried whether their food would run out before having money to buy more,” Oakley said

He requested people to visit, a new website designed to educate people about the financial aid proposal. The floor was also opened for student media representatives after he finished speaking about the new grant. A student from Monetary Peninsula College (or MPC), Katie Dane questioned him about her concerns that she heard from underground front line teachers speaking to how these newly implemented funding models affect California community colleges.

“My question is, the plan does the chancellor’s office has increased funding models for the community college. Just and how can MTC grow with enrollment and not be penalized by the state financial aid services,” Dane asked. Upon which the chancellor again emphasized that every student applying through the Cal Grant will benefit from this financial aid grant.

“Every student who attends any of our community college, including MPC would benefit greatly from the changes that were proposing to the state’s financial aid system, particularly those students who are older, who are pursuing careers, who may have had to work for a while and then are trying to come back to school. Their Cal Grant system has historically not been able to support students like that and the students that attend Monterey Peninsula College so the reform that we are proposing, Senate Bill 291 will provide additional amount of resources a significant amount of resources to provide grant aid to those students and become part of the growing umbrella that we call the California College Promise, which not only waives fees for all low income students, but also waives fees for all first time, full time students regardless of what county they’re from,” Oakley said. Another student asked him about when the bill would go in affect and he stated that the bill would go into affect starting in 2020, and in the initial budget year they will be getting an amount of 250 million dollars. He also added that they plan to receive over six billion dollars in the spam of the next six years. In respect to this amount Jason Scholar, another media representative questioned him about the dreamers and how Senate Bill 291 would impact them.

“So that’s a great question because, as you may know, the state has provided, not just in state tuition and the California DREAM Act aid to our dreamers. But what we’re hoping is one, this aid, obviously would go directly to those students who apply through the Cal Grant system. But we will continue to work on increasing the amount of aid is available to our dreamers. Bill 291 will primarily support the needs of all low income students. And as long as a student has residency here in California. They will be able to access that aid. That does not solve the problem for all the dreamers, as you, I’m sure, you know, so we need to continue to work with the legislature. And with the federal government, but in the near term with the state legislature to increase the amount of resources available to those dreamers who don’t have residency here in the state of California,” Oakley said.

This bill provides funding, upon appropriation by legislature, to each community college meeting prescribed requirements. To learn more about this bill you can visit and see how you can support your peers. Only time can tell what Bill 291 has for the people of California. Until then we can only wait.