Fund shortage dooms initiative

By Editorial Board

The California Community College Chancellor’s Office initiated a plan to alleviate students of their financial burdens by teaching financial literacy throughout all of California’s 114 community colleges.

Although the plan aims to strengthen students’ knowledge on community college campuses about  resources that are available to them, there are not funds provided from the state to effectively run the program.

Given the limited financial resources dedicated to the bringing the program to fruition, the responsibility falls on faculty and staff to make sure they follow through with the initiative.

The program is designed to work in three phases:

Phases one and two will aim to increase the financial capability for all students enrolled in the community college system with a distinct focus on program completion in order to ensure a culture of financial competence is realized.

During the third phase, colleges will partner with local education agencies to provide financial education in elementary and secondary schools. Program organizers will also work with community stakeholders to provide financial information to residents of nearby communities.

Phase three will be implemented once phases one and two have been fulfilled.

Contra Costa College Financial Aid Supervisor Monica Rodriguez said the state will not provide additional funds so CCC will have to utilize the resources on campus they already have, which can be difficult because running an event costs money.

Programs like the Comet Care Package gives students in need basic necessities to ease insecurities that otherwise could be a hassle to purchase.

Students struggling to pay rent or who may be faced with hunger or homelessness need help, but when a program designed to help them is not adequately funded these students can’t get the help they need.

Rodriguez said services are already available on campus like the Office of Financial Assistance, which helps students fill out FAFSA forms and assists student with some financial issues.

One of the programs CCC offers is SparkPoint, a service on campus that works to educate students about financial success through workshops, budgeting, searching for jobs and providing advice.

SparkPoint is designed to ease students with their financial burdens and offer a glimmer of hope that the K-12 system fails to provide when preparing students for their next chapter in life.

“Your K-12 education doesn’t cover that, but that’s part of the financial wellness initiative is designed to do — teach this stuff. That is what SparkPoint is here to do,” SparkPoint Coordinator Bill Bankhead said.

By providing the tools for students to be educated about how to manage their finances and how to save for long-term goals, students have a chance for fiscal success as they move into the future.

However, the state Chancellor’s Office is limiting colleges by not fully investing in the  Financial Wellness Initiative or the success of students by not providing adequate program funding, especially when the program in question provides fiscal education.