CCC talks about the benefits of community college

Raul Padilla, Features Editor

California Community Colleges held a teleconference via Zoom on Feb. 22. The purpose was to relay information regarding important financial aid deadline, findings from a new report on California’s community colleges impact on the state, and upcoming enrollment opportunities.

The first topic of discussion was on financial aid. Cal Grant had recently been changed to allow for more students to benefit, with around 100,000 previously ineligible students now being eligible as a result.

March 2 is the important deadline for financial aid, its importance strongly stated throughout the meeting, and any who wish to benefit are strongly encouraged to sign up before the next semester.

Enrollment was the next topic mentioned, and its importance not only to students but to everyone involved as well.

A recent economic report on community colleges around California has revealed that community colleges have a significant positive impact throughout the entire state.

“We found that for every dollar invested in the California Community college system students gain five dollars in future earnings so that’s a huge win for taxpayers in the state of California, and I think we need to continue to echo that message” stated Eloy Oakley, teleconference speaker.

Yet despite the apparent benefits, enrollment has been declining recently. Throughout the pandemic, the number of students enrolled has steadily dropped, and as a result, new ways to bring students in have been developed to combat this issue.

Examples mentioned include credit for prior learning which allows students to gain credit for any experience they may have gained from other sources such as employment, military service, internships, and many others. Credit can be acquired via free evaluations being offered to help students on their way towards degrees.

Associates Degrees for Transfer, which allow students to more easily make their way to four year universities have also been expanded with more universities across the country willing to accept them and guarantee students spots on campuses they may wish to transfer to after college.

Late start classes were also pushed, being full credit courses available late Feb. and throughout March.

“We’re hoping that the further we get beyond the Omicron variant the more we can begin to re-engage students directly in person and get people back to some sense of on campus normalcy” said speaker Oakley.