Board of governors grant waives tuition fees

BOGG offers access to qualified community college students

By Salvador Godoy, Staff Writer

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors Grant (BOGG) is the most effective financial aid program in covering tuition costs for college students in California according to a recent study.

The BOGG fee waiver’s objective is to assist qualifying California college students by waiving the cost per-unit enrollment (presently $46 a unit) at any community college in the state. Students who qualify for the grant pay no tuition fees.

According to the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, the 30-year-old program has served more than 5.1 million students, effectively providing access to previously marginalized students.

“The BOGG fee waiver program is definitely the biggest factor that makes higher education so accessible to students in the state of California,” Contra Costa College Financial Aid Supervisor Monica Rodriguez said. “There are not many other community college systems in other states in the country that offer such a program, which improves accessibility of higher education to such a large sector of students.”

The success of the BOGG is helped as students only have to complete a short application form, making the process easy for students to access.

Currently, 1.1 million students are receiving tuition assistance from the BOGG fee waiver in California. African-Americans and Latinos make up 45 percent of the state’s population, but only represent 58 percent of the students currently receiving the BOGG fee waiver, according to the state Chancellor’s Office.

Three of the states studied, Oregon, Kentucky and South Carolina, allow assistance to be used for other educational expenses. Only enrollment fees are covered in the BOGG fee waiver, but students depend on Pell Grants and other forms of financial aid to cover college costs.

State Chancellor Brice W. Harris said further aid needs to be offered for non-enrollment costs of college.

“Despite the tremendous success of the Board of Governors fee waiver over three decades, much more must be done to support students in a high cost state such as California,” Harris said.

“Only 6 percent of the state’s Cal Grant dollars go to community college students, making the net cost of education for our students higher than for UC and CSU students in many areas of the state,” he said.

“The report was conducted to analyze the impact over the three decades on the BOGG  and compare it to other state programs,” Paul Feist, state vice chancellor for Communications said. “It makes an enormous impact on the lives of millions of students in California.”

“The fee waiver was initially implemented at a time when California started charging fees at community colleges (the 1980s). It was a way to offset costs for needy students,” Feist said.