More than half of the students at LPC do not qualify for grants, leaving many to pay for their tuition. Tuition is currently $1,164 per unit, including books and materials and other expenses, but it varies for part-time students, who pay $46 per unit. Paying can be challenging for many students. Many students have outside financial responsibilities to tend to.
Teria Daniels, an LPC college student, is in her second year as a student. She works full-time, attends classes part-time, and tends to her outside financial responsibilities. Because she receives no financial assistance, she must work as many shifts as possible to cover her expenses.
“With all of my responsibilities, I barely have time to study and concentrate on schoolwork. I get good grades, but I still have difficulty juggling all of my financial obligations. I am limited to taking a certain number of classes to avoid my school tuition becoming excessively high. I want to become a full-time student and focus on completing my requirements so I can transfer, but at the rate I’m taking classes now, I’m not sure when I’ll transfer. I feel like I’m being held back and trapped. School and work are a lot to handle’’.
Many other students share the same views as Daniels regarding school and work; 64% of respondents viewed the cost of college and balancing school and work responsibilities as the biggest obstacle to college success. Just as feeling the same way, many students are also in the same situation as Daniels, according to the Community College Research Center. ‘’About 80% of community college students work, with 39% working full-time. Many of these students are working to not only pay for tuition but support themselves with housing, food, transportation, and their families.
With all of these expenses on many students’ plates, many students perform poorly in school and have little time to focus on their studies. According to the national student financial wellness study, ‘’32 percent of students reported neglecting their studies sometimes because of their owed money’’. Some students even have to drop out or take fewer classes.
This has an impact not only on the student’s future but also the college’s. If many students drop out for financial reasons, the college enrollment drops, resulting in fewer students in certain classes, canceled classes, and a negative impact. Institutions require students and sufficient enrollment to stay viable.
Making college free would relieve these students’ financial burdens and keep the college afloat.
For college student Daniels, free college would allow her to take many classes and work less to focus on school and her extracurricular activities.
‘’ Having no school expenses would be a huge lift on my shoulders and many other students. I feel students would perform better because they’ll have more time to focus and study. There would also be less stress in many college student’s lives. I would also like to be more involved with the college because I‘ll have more time’’.
Some other community colleges also had students with financial problems and made their college free. These colleges notice an increase in enrollment, fewer students dropping out for financial reasons, less student debt, and improved completion rates, especially with students from low-income families and students of color who are frequently the first in their families to attend college. According to Ed source ‘’Students who attend community college tuition-free also graduate at higher rates’’.
Making the Las Positas free would definitely benefit students, including myself. I currently receive financial aid for my tuition, but I am paying for all other school expenses. This is really difficult for me, as it is for many other students. Textbooks for school are quite expensive, with some going for as much as $150. Aside from my financial situation, I know a lot of students who don’t get any financial aid and are struggling to make ends meet. Many students have expensive bills to pay outside of school and school fees, and they work tirelessly to pay them. Many of these students work extra shifts that last all day and take time away from their studies and schoolwork. With so little time in the day to work, it’s difficult for many of them to perform their best in class. Many of their grades drop as a result of their poor performance, harming their GPA and future opportunities. Students deserve the opportunity to excel academically and concentrate on their academics without having to work long hours to cover school costs. By making LPC free it can give students and future students that opportunity.
Back In 2017, Brown signed the assembly bill that provided free community college to first-time students who meet the requirements. This bill has been in place for five years now, known as ‘’ the college promise grant’’.
This bill has benefited many new students, just as many other grants at Las Positas. However, many students in need have not benefited from the grant or qualified for any free tuition.
To qualify for the ‘’promise grant’’ and many other grants, you must meet the requirements of a first-time student, a full time, and maintain your GPA. This may appear to be a small and simple qualification, but according to US News, ‘’only 28% of students who attend are full-time and first-time students’’. Many of the students who attend are not first-time students and cannot attend full-time due to other obligations. According to US News,‘’ At Las Positas, there are currently 8,978 students, out of 8,978 students 6,019 are part-time.
Iyore Iyamu is a writer for The Express. Follow her @IyamuMiyore