With over 20,100 Full Time Equivalent Students attending PCC this semester, along with the class cuts and limits to adding classes, finding a spot in a class is a trying task. For the 1,501 international and out of state students, identified by the Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Enrollment Management department, the most difficult obstacle is the heavily and unnecessarily burdensome cost of attending classes at a community college.
International computer science student Ashish Ingoe is in his second semester at PCC. Botswana native Ingoe lives with his sister who is an international student at CSU Los Angeles.
Like every international student attending PCC, Ingoe must be registered for a minimum of 12 units each semester, and he must pay at least $3,564 each semester for those 12 units. Ingoe is registered for 13 units this semester, a total cost of $3,818.
According to the International Student Tuition and Fees section on the PCC website, international students must pay a minimum of $3,564 per semester. An average instate student has to pay only $432 for 12 units.
What is most upsetting is that international students will not get financial aid, since it is exclusively available to U.S. citizens.
That is not the only restriction for coping with the high cost of college tuition, “[International students] are allowed only to work on campus, except in economic hardships,” said Ingoe.
With the stressful 12 unit requirement for international students to keep their U.S. visas current, they must also maintain a GPA of at least 2.0.
“I have a 3.5 GPA, but that’s only from one semester here. I’m taking more units this semester,” said Ingoe, “and I’m looking for a job, but I’m limited to only the on – campus [jobs].”
It seems the entire community college system is doing everything possible to discourage international students from attending. International students are not funded in any way by the state.
Out of state students may not have to hassle with employment restrictions and financial aid qualifications as much as international students, but the tuition fees for them are still at least $238 per unit, according to the PCC website. To qualify for financial aid, an out of state student must register for 12 units, which can be a heavy load for some.
Another problem for out of state students confronts those who had paperwork lost, thus having the state assume that students who have been residents of California are instead newcomers to the state. One of these students is undeclared major Ana Delacerda, who has been in foster care.
“My custody files were lost, so I was marked as no longer being a current resident of the state,” she said. She is taking 14 units this semester, but she has financial aid.
“It’s ridiculous,” she said. “I don’t even know why it’s that expensive with it being $238 [per] unit. You’re already an out of state student, with other bills, and the school wants you to pay more.”
In the end, it is fair to say that although resident students don’t have priority registration, the ridiculously high cost of attendance for out of state and international students certainly gives them the right to get the classes they need to keep their eligibility as U.S. citizens as well as residents of the state.
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