California Community College students to expect tuition decrease

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Starting next semester, the tuition for students attending community colleges in California will drop from $26 to $20, reversing the legislation that initially raised the $11 tuition fee. On Oct. 2, California Community College Chancellor Marshall Drummond held a press conference about the signing of Assembly Bill 1802 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sept. 29. The bill, which includes the new reduction of tuition for all 109 community college campuses, also fixes the outdated and complex system of funding for community colleges.”My understanding is that the state’s budget is doing well enough to allow for the reduction,” said Maria Escobar, director of financial aid, Extended Opportunities Programs and Services (EOPS) and Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE). “It’s a great benefit to the student’s paying out of pocket.”Though it directly affects the students, not many are aware of the drop in tuition.”I didn’t even know it was dropping,” said Caitlin Murphy, a third-year student who works in the financial aid office. “Hopefully, it will boost enrollment.”According to Escobar, that should change soon. There are plans to place ads in the campus newspaper and the ASSC marquis in the quad between buildings one and two.This tuition reduction will have no effect on the Board of Governor’s Fee Waiver, which helps cover community college fees for California residents who qualify. According to Escobar, the tuition reduction should not cause program cuts either. However, to make the tuition even more accessible, California community colleges will implement a financial aid awareness campaign that will offer all the resources for fully taking advantage of the financial aid given to students. For more information on the campaign visit: www.icanaffordcollege.com.The only downside to the tuition reduction? “It might be a little more crowded,” said Murphy.