Summer school at a UC could soon be easier to afford. That is at least the hope with the latest resolution to pass through the ASUCR senate, SR-S18-005 (official title: “Resolution in Support of the Campaign to Extend Cal Grant to Summer Session from the Coalition for A Better UC”). Introduced by Vice President of Internal Affairs Semi Cole near the end of the senate meeting last Wednesday, April 25, the initiative extends support for the efforts of the Coalition for a Better UC (CBUC) to offer the Cal Grant, a financial aid program which can provide up to $12,630 a year in the UC system, to qualified students taking summer classes.
The Cal Grant is awarded at the start of every academic year to students who apply and meet the minimum GPA and unit requirements. Though, currently the award only extends through the fall, winter and spring quarters, which leads some students to either take out loans for summer classes or avoid taking them entirely. Cole and the resolution’s primary authors Steven Ho and Brandon Mora of the CBUC see the lack of access to non-indebted financial aid over the summer as a large reason behind some University of California and Cal State students not graduating within the expected four years.
“Not enough people of color or people in general are graduating on time,” said Cole on Wednesday. “ … When we talk about tuition increases and we talk about graduating in four years, these are solutions that actually bring that about.”
According to most recent data from California Governor Jerry Brown’s 2016 budget summary, the average four-year graduation rate for the Cal State system is around 19 percent, significantly below the 34 percent national average for public universities. In the UC system, 64 percent of students meet four-year graduation rates, while 85 percent graduate within six years. This most recent UC data, however, was compiled in 2011 and doesn’t account for the around 42,000 more students enrolled in the UC system as of fall 2017. The larger the student body the harder it may be to register for needed classes, which is another possible delay for students.
“I think it’s an important issue for students,” said Cole. “We believe allowing them this financial resource … will be able to help them graduate on time.”
The resolution passed through the senate 12-0-1, with the lone abstention coming from BCOE Senator Patrick Le.
- Commuter Meal Plan coming soon … CHASS Senator Roy Tongilava has been busy these past few weeks. He recently met with Assistant Vice Chancellor of Auxiliary Services Andy Plumley to work on finalizing the commuter meal plan, a proposition to provide commuter students with meal swipes, which are currently only allowed to students living on campus. This week, Tongilava says he will be “following up with (Plumley) regarding all the final details,” but the plan is slated to be available starting fall 2018 and will provide commuting students up to five meal swipes per week. Tongilava also worked with UCR’s Transportation and Parking Services to remove the sequestering barriers in Lot 21 (outside Pentland Residential Housing), integrating resident parking with Gold Plus parking.
- Longer Spring Break? … CHASS Senator Mariam Alkhalili is looking into the possibility of extending spring break by one week, effectively cutting summer vacation by a week. She says she “still has to see how we’d be able to implement that.” Alkhalili also had discussions with two students in the UCOP office about the possibility of creating an Arab Muslim Task Force at the student level, an idea she says was originally “shot down because they don’t believe that there is a direct need for the addressing of Arab and Muslim issues on campus.” As of now, Alkhalili is building a network across the UC of students to build a task force on her own.
The next senate meeting will be this Wednesday, May 3, beginning at 6:30 p.m. inside the senate chambers (HUB 221).