The Board of Trustees of the West Valley-Mission Community College District adopted a resolution on Tuesday, November 15, 2022, to use local funds to waive tuition and enrollment fees for its students. In addition, the board also took the monumental step to waive the costs for students related to parking, health fees and childcare effective January 1, 2023.
Chancellor Brad Davis will now be authorized to work closely with local lawmakers on authoring, introducing and championing legislation that would allow the District to use unrestricted general funds to provide fee waivers to students residing within its boundaries.
“The adoption of this resolution marks an inflection point in the history of our District enabling students to shed financial burdens that often force them to choose between their education and the responsibilities of food, housing, transportation and the myriad of financial challenges they face,” said Chancellor Bradley Davis.
The resolution includes several transparency requirements and safeguards including a provision that requires the District’s Board of Trustees to establish a framework and adopt policies to determine eligibility. Students will need to also demonstrate financial need and reside in the District’s boundary preventing any competitive advantage with neighboring community college districts.
The resolution incorporates the U.S. Department of Education’s definition of a student’s cost of attendance (COA) which includes an estimate of tuition and fees, cost of living expenses, cost of books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and miscellaneous expenses including costs of a personal computer, allowance for childcare or other dependent, costs related to a disability, and reasonable costs for eligible study-abroad programs.
The District will need to publicly provide financial impact information at an upcoming Board of Trustees meeting that details it has the funds to reduce fees for students and will not seek a reimbursement from the State.
Download a signed copy of the Board approved resolution
“As we witness a troubling trend of increased housing and food insecurity among our young adults, higher education continues to be unattainable for so many,” says Senator Dave Cortese who serves on the California Senate Education Committee and championed guaranteed income for unhoused students. “I am grateful for the leadership and partnership of the West Valley-Mission Community College District Board of Trustees as we work to create a path for our local students to access education, employment, career advancement and lifelong success.”
-Senator Dave Cortese
“The total cost of attending college is deterring many students from achieving their academic goals. When you consider the total costs of college including food, housing, and health care, in addition to tuition and books, we are crippling students and undermining their ability to succeed in the classroom. Many students are struggling to make ends meet, working multiple jobs and relying on food pantries to eat and friends’ couches to sleep. I’m grateful to the students we have heard from and look forward to working with them to address the issues they raised,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman, who chairs the Assembly Select Committee on the Master Plan for Higher Education in California
-Assemblymember Marc Berman
Free Community College Fact Sheet
COA is the estimate of tuition and fees, cost of room and board (or living expenses), cost of books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and miscellaneous expenses (including a reasonable amount for the documented cost of a personal computer), allowance for childcare or other dependent care, costs related to a disability, and reasonable costs for eligible study abroad programs.
This resolution would authorize the District to use local unrestricted general funds, in addition to funding received under the California College Promise, to help students with total cost of attendance. The bill would define total cost of attendance for a student attending WVMCC as including the student’s tuition and fees, books, and supplies, living expenses, transportation expenses, and any other student expenses, and any other student expenses use to calculate a student’s financial need for purposes of federal Title IV student aid programs.
In June 23, 2022, by a majority vote of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Josh Becker and Assembly Member Marc Berman received authorization to proceed with San Mateo County Community College District (San Mateo CCCD) to use their unrestricted general funds to establish a tuition fee waiver and to provide financial assistance for the total cost of attendance for qualifying students of the District.
The major provisions associated with this action would permit West Valley-Mission Committee College District (WVMCCD) to adopt a policy that uses local unrestricted general funds to provide fee waivers to students with the greatest financial need when other fee waivers are not provided to those students, and would require the policy to include a requirement to prepare a fiscal impact statement, including a 3-year projection of the fiscal impact of the fee waiver on the community college district, as specified.
Existing law establishes the California College Promise, to be administered by the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges. Existing law requires the chancellor to distribute funding, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to community college districts to fund colleges that meet prescribed requirements. Existing law authorizes a community college that receives funding under the program to, among other things, waive some or all of the fees for up to 2 academic years for first-time students who are enrolled in 12 or more semester units or the equivalent at the college and complete and submit either a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or a California Dream Act application.
This bill, if approved by the State Legislature would authorize WVMCCD to use local unrestricted general funds, in addition to funding received under the California College Promise, to provide assistance to students for the total cost of attendance. The bill would define total cost of attendance for a student attending a community college as including the student's tuition and fees, books and supplies, living expenses, transportation expenses, and any other student expenses used to calculate a student's financial need for purposes of federal Title IV student aid programs.
This bill would require the WVMCCD to use local unrestricted general funds for the purposes of these provisions only for students who reside within the boundary of the community college district.
This bill would require the governing board of the WVMCCD to submit a report to the State Chancellor's Office of the California Community Colleges, the Department of Finance, and the appropriate committees of the Legislature on the implementation of these provisions, as specified.
This bill would make legislative findings and declarations as to the necessity of a special statute for the WVMCCD.
50% Law Qualifications
The Fifty Percent Law of Education Code Section 84362, requires all community college districts, regardless of their base aid status, to spend at least half of their “current expense of education” budgetary dollars on “salaries for classroom instructions”. As defined in the Education Code, faculty salaries, classified staff salaries, employee benefits, books, supplies, and equipment replacement account for “current expense for education” and fifty percent of this amount is to be spent on salaries for classroom instructors or faculty.
A district must provide fifty percent of its current expenses of education funds for faculty salaries or receive an exemption by the California Community College (CCC) Board of Governors. A district, who does not comply nor receives an exemption by the CCC Board of Governors, would be in violation of the Fifty Percent Law and the CCC Board of Governors would withhold apportionment funds of a determined amount until the CCC district adheres to the Fifty percent Law.
West Valley-Mission Community College District is a base aid district and HAS been in compliance with the Fifty Percent Law since it’s existence.