State considers covering full cost of community college

Jonathan Cabrera, Staff Reporter

SB 291 covers the true cost of community colleges, which is not only tuition and materials, but also food, transportation and housing costs for students.

Senate Bill 291 is currently being reviewed by the Committee on Higher Education, said Lisa Mandy, director of financial aid.

“The reason it’s stuck is because the goal of it is to assist with living expenses for students, but you also have to show you’re helping,” Mandy said. “They’re trying to figure out the contribution from the student side, away from FAFSA.”

Financial aid requirements, such as hours at work and units at school can change.

Working full time for example, can mean a student can have access to these benefits.

“Students should not be working full-time jobs,” said Lisa Mandy, the director for financial aid. “How do we get money to community college students, at the same level as the CSUs and UCs because they have endowments and different grants?”

“The outreach office provides basic groceries. All of these programs already have free food and free public transport that’s provided to all students,” said Arafa Fateemah, 22, architecture major. 

Students already have access to the eco pass and the food pantry, she said.

“I feel like this should be more aimed toward more for students struggling for housing and students who are full time students,” said John Nguyen, 18, business administration. “If this bill does find a way to get the money, then I support it.”

If students going to De Anza will stay here most of their day, it will benefit them more than students who are working full time jobs away from De Anza, he said.

Nguyen also said that students living in Cupertino pay over $1000 for apartments.

“If this bill supports full time students, it would be much better, Nguyen said.