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Nonresidents to Pay Higher Fees at Peralta Colleges

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New fees for nonresident students at Peralta Community Colleges will increase by $29 per unit.

The Peralta Community College Board of Trustees approved an increase to nonresident tuition at its regular meeting Tuesday night.

Under the new resolution, nonresident students would be assessed a tuition fee of $213, up $23 from the previous fee of $190. In addition, the board approved a six-dollar per unit Nonresident Capital Outlay Fee as allowed by Education Code 76141. 

In total, the new fees for nonresident students will increase by $29 a unit. For a full-time student with 12 units, that means an additional cost of $348 per semester. Full-time students charged at the nonresident rate are now looking at the possibility of fees well above $3,000 a semester, before the cost of books and supplies. 

The fee increase comes less than a week after the district's Vice Chancellor of Finance Ron Gerhard announced a proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown that would require in-state students to pay the out-of-state rate after reaching a 90-unit cap.

In statements given by Gerhard at the district’s State of the Budget address, and reiterated Tuesday night, the governor’s proposal would create a“90 semester unit cap on the number of units a student could take, and for which the district could receive state funding. Students who exceed this cap would be required to pay the full cost of tuition.”

But some students may face problems registering in general come 2014. The passage of State Bill 1456 by Gov. Brown last September will give priority registration to veterans, active military, disabled students, foster youth and students with stated academic or vocational goals and fewer than 100 units. The latter provision could push out many older students, or those simply trying to find their path. 

The number of older students on campus also may see a decline, as funding is made available for AB540 students. Under new regulations from Sacramento included in the California Dream Act, AB540 students, which include undocumented students, are eligible for private and public financial assistance as well as qualify for in-state tuition. 

But according to Amy Lee, director of the AB540 taskforce at Laney College, the demographic of students who identify as AB540 are “younger, more college bound traditional students.” When compared with the Peralta District’s general population, there is more than twice the number of AB540 students in the 16-18 age range and more than 10 percent more AB540 students in the 19-24 age range.  

With the recent changes in priority registration, unit caps and funding for undocumented students, the face and mission of California’s community colleges appears to be changing. 

According to California’s Master Plan for Higher Education, community colleges are to “admit any student capable of benefiting from instruction” with the mission of “providing academic and vocational training for older and younger students.” Under the new proposals and fees, older students may find themselves unable to afford or enroll in the classes they need.

In other news from Tuesday nights meeting, the Peralta Colleges Foundation, a non-profit auxiliary to the district that provides scholarships to students and grants to faculty, announced the receipt of a $250,000 donation from an anonymous donor at the San Francisco Foundation.

According to Romeo Garcia, the foundations executive director, the funds will be used “to pay for operations and staffing, so that we can be at full capacity to raise more money for scholarships and support more programs throughout the district.”

Source: Oakland Local []

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