Require students receiving the Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waivers to meet various conditions and requirements, as specified below:
- Identify a degree, certificate, transfer, or career advancement goal;
- Meet institutional satisfactory progress standards to be eligible for fee waiver renewal; and
- Have a transcript that reflects no more than 110 units, not including basic skills and ESL courses.
The BOG Fee Waiver program allows financially needy students to have their fees waived. Unlike federal and state financial aid programs, the community colleges do not limit the maximum number of units covered by the award, nor do they require students to make satisfactory academic progress toward an educational goal. Federal and state financial aid programs impose these requirements because they work to keep students progressing toward their educational goals and help them to meet those goals in a timely manner.
When the BOG Fee Waiver program was established more than 25 years ago, its sole purpose was to prevent the newly established student enrollment fee from posing a barrier to the enrollment of low-income students. Today, the program’s lack of progress requirements stands in sharp contrast to all other aid programs that encourage student progress and success. These recommendations would hold BOG Fee Waiver recipients to the same standards required of all students to maintain enrollment priority and would encourage them to take advantage of resources provided by colleges to support their academic success. It would be incumbent on colleges to implement systems to let students know when their continued access to the fee waiver is threatened and to establish an appeals process to address extenuating circumstances.
Although saving money is not the intent or purpose of this recommendations, implementation will likely result in modest short-term savings that should be captured and reallocated within the community college system for reinvestment in the student support and retention activities identified in the student success initiative. Any savings derived from this recommendation will diminish over time as the Task Force recommendations lead to improved student outcomes.