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COC fees increase 30 percent

School officials say lower-income students will be hardest hit

Posted: July 29, 2009 10:17 p.m.
Updated: July 30, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Enrollment fees will take a 30-percent hike at College of the Canyons this school year, and college officials say lower-income students will be the hardest hit.

The increase from $20 a unit to $26 a unit is due to the state budget signed Tuesday and affects community colleges statewide.

"Statewide, every time there's even a dollar increase in the fee, that impacts students at the lower end of the economic scale," said Sue Bozman, College of the Canyons spokeswoman.

For a full-time student taking 12 units, the increase means fees go up from $240 a semester to $312 a semester.

"It's a large percentage increase," Bozman said.

Since College of the Canyons students began registering for the fall semester July 20, the community college has begun notifying registered students that they need to pay the $6 difference for each registered unit.

Student online accounts will be updated and they will be able to access their online accounts and pay the difference starting today, Bozman said.

Hardest hit will be lower middle-class students who don't qualify for financial aid but cannot afford higher education, Bozman said.
Student trustee Nicolas Cardenas agreed.

"If you already expect to make a certain amount and pay a certain amount, and that education cost goes up very suddenly, it will be felt," Cardenas said.

It could also hurt enrollment at community colleges.

"Statewide, whenever fees go up, there's a drop in enrollment," Bozman said.

The fee increase will not affect the roughly 5,000 COC students who qualify for Board of Governors Fee Waivers, Bozman said.

The $6-a-unit fee increase is expected to generate $80 million statewide. The money would be returned to community colleges to offset cuts in state funding.

Enrollment fees hit $26 a unit in 2004 but were lowered to $20 in 2007.

Students who believe they can't afford the higher fee are encouraged to visit College of the Canyons' financial aid office on the Valencia campus to learn about scholarship and grant opportunities.

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