Governor signs bill to postpone fee increase and aid student veterans

Jerry Brown on Wednesday, Sept. 21, signed into law a pair of bills that will prove beneficial to students of public colleges and universities across California.

The first bill passed by Gov. Brown, Assembly Bill (AB)X1 32, authored by Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, delays implementation of a $10 mid-year student fee increase from the winter intercession of the 2011-12 academic school year to the summer term of the same 2012 calendar year.

The increase, which would take the tuition from $36 to $46 per unit, takes effect if state revenues of the 2011-12 fiscal year, “fall more than $1 billion below projections and trigger cuts are executed,” according to a press release sent out Wednesday by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO).

The aforementioned cut is only one of two “trigger” reductions that are expected to hit California community colleges if the state revenue numbers are not up to par with the projections. The reductions are expected to amount to a total of $102 million.

The first cut – a $30 million reduction – will be treated as a one-time reduction, said Director of Fiscal Services for CCCCO Chris Yatooma in an e-mail sent out to colleagues.

“[The reduction] is a general deficit to the apportionment,” he said.

Meanwhile, the second cut, which amounts to $72 million, will be treated as an additional workload reduction, according to Yatooma.

“Gov. Brown is to be commended for signing [ABX1 32],” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott in the press release. “Without this legislation, colleges would have been forced to raise fees on very short notice and collect increased fees from students who had already registered for spring classes.”

While the bill is beneficial to students in general, not everyone is content with its provisions.

“[The bill] definitely helps if you’re almost done with Pierce,” said Stephanie Sanchez, a 26-year-old child development major. “Otherwise, it doesn’t really help that much.”

The second bill, AB 636, authored by Assemblyman Steve Knight, will allow members of the National Guard to get a full refund of their tuition should they be called to active duty, regardless of their withdrawal date from classes.

Before, service members could only get full refunds if they dropped out of school prior to the withdrawal deadline set by their individual public colleges.

AB 636 also, at the request of the student, requires schools to assist the student with completing all coursework requirements that he or she may have missed at the time of deployment.

In addition, schools will restore the educational status earned by the student prior to deployment without loss of academic units completed and scholarships and grants awarded.

The bill will go into effect Jan. 1.


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