Fee waiver regulations to tighten

Students on academic, progress probation for two consecutive semesters will be denied the Board of Governors Fee Waiver

By Lorenzo Morotti, Editor-in-Chief

Students who are on either academic or progress probation for two consecutive semesters will be unable to apply for the Board of Governors Fee Waiver program effective fall 2016.

The BOG Fee Waiver is a program for students who cannot afford the $46 unit fee, but if they meet the application requirements, can have their enrollment fees waived.   

The California Community College Board of Governors created a plan known as the Student Success Initiative to prevent a shortage of one million college educated workers by 2025, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

SSI will also make changes to the BOG program and its eligibility requirements.

Contra Costa College Dean of Student Affairs Vicki Ferguson said students are placed on progress probation when they finish a 12-unit semester with 50 percent or more of their grades being W, IP or NC.

Ferguson said academic probation follows the same structure but with students failing to complete 50 percent of classes with a C.

According to an Academic/Progress Totals report, 204 students have made it to academic probation level two and 93 to progress probation level two.

Counselor Norma Valdez-Jimenez said, “It sounds harsh but we are asking for accountability on the students’ part. What this change is doing is asking students, ‘How serious are you?’”

Financial Aid Supervisor Monica Rodriguez said that currently 4,803 CCC students are using the BOG Fee Waiver program. 

Director of Admissions and Records Catherine Fites provided The Advocate with a headcount figure report. As of Oct. 15, the report reads 6,428 students were enrolled.

About 70 percent of the students attending CCC use the BOG waiver program. Numbers show, however, that most of these students are not in danger of academic or progress probation and, if they were, they could easily get out, Ferguson said.

She said that students who exceed academic or progress probation level two and have been dismissed, meaning they have been restricted to sign up for classes on InSite Portal, can do an online appeal process.

“The college can lift the dismissal if the student can prove he or she has been dealing with circumstances such as incarceration, a medical condition or a death in the family,” Ferguson said.

The appeals process includes a 15-minute online quiz that can be taken at www.contracosta.edu and then meeting with a counselor to discuss the circumstances surrounding the student’s dismissal.

Ferguson said districtwide efforts to inform students and the community of this change to the BOG waiver program will start in spring 2015.