Current college issues concern students
With the school’s budget situation, financial aid rumors and the rising cost of attendance and parking fees, many students are feeling weary of their futures here at Bakersfield College.
Interim president Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg said these issues have been addressed to herself and student government officials, and she wishes there was a simple solution.
“Our resources will be limited and we will not be able to serve every student who comes to our door,” said Gomez-Heitzeberg.
“In the past, that has been our goal. To serve every student was the most important thing.”
The limitations in place are due to budget concerns and uncertainties about the future.
“Now that we’re shifting to success, the challenge for us is, how can we help [students] be more successful in their classes so they’re able to reach their goals?” she said.
“I think it makes it more incumbent upon us to do a better job of communicating what the expectations are for students while they are with us.”
Another factor she believes impacts students heavily is external requirements for financial aid.
“They have to have their student [education] plan on file, the courses that they’re taking have to be on the ed plan,” she said.
She also stresses that students should understand that there are differences between satisfactory academic progresses for financial aid than on BC’s own internal GPA assessment.
“What we saw this year is that we still had a good turn around time of 24 hours for the board of governor’s waiver, so registration fees were paid,” she said.
This fall semester also saw over a thousand book vouchers for Pell grant eligible students.
“In theory, registration fees were paid and book vouchers were paid, but I also recognize that a number of students count on their financial aid for living expenses,” she said. “I think those are the ones that have felt the greatest sense of urgency and frustration.”
She then addressed the issues many students seemed to have with the new one-day parking pass cost.
“The student fees for parking is that established, semester length parking pass,” she said. “That is the student parking fee.”
Many students use the day parking pass that’s meant for everyone, but while students use it, it really isn’t designed for a student parking fee.
“I did the simple math,” she said. “If I were a student, and I had to come two times a week, it would be cheaper to get the parking fee.
“Then it also occurred to me that, for some students it’s an issue of, I can get together a dollar on any given day, but to think I’m going to come up with 30 dollars is kind of mind boggling.
“So, I understand that even though the math would make sense, to get a monthly pass, sometimes that’s harder to wrap your head around when you’re just trying to figure out week by week by week.”
She says there are things students can do to help relieve the stresses of college life, though it won’t be easy.
“I can’t say anything that would make them feel a lot better,” she said.
She then urged students to be more involved in what goes on around them.
“Students need to get their paperwork in on time and they need to be focused on their place right now in every class and doing the best they can and speaking up… so that [their] voice gets heard through that group.”