Ad Campaign Explains Financial Aid Enrollment

City College student Brandon Naung heads into the Ocean campus financial aid office on Feb. 8, 2016. (Photo by Santiago Mejia/The Guardsman)
City College student Brandon Naung heads into the Ocean campus financial aid office
on Feb. 8, 2016. (Photo by Santiago Mejia/The Guardsman)

By Margaret Weir

The California Community College’s Chancellor’s Office will launch a new advertising campaign  ‘I Can Afford College’ (ICAC), a statewide initiative to raise awareness about financial aid available for college students.

“I Can Afford College” primarily operates through its interactive website that guides students through the process of applying for various types of financial aid. The process is presented in steps from eligibility to application.

The format simplifies the overwhelming process into something very manageable, and an extensive FAQ answers any lingering questions.

“Since the initiative launched in 2004, the Community College of California’s I Can Afford College financial aid awareness campaign has educated current and prospective students on the affordability of community college and the ability of financial aid year-round,” said Misha Gutierrez, public relations representative for ICAC.

The advertising campaign features Zach King, who is described as an “American social media celebrity, filmmaker, and YouTube personality” in a press release pertaining to the ads. King is best known for his “magic Instagram photos,” a series of digitally edited magic tricks.

California Community Colleges (CCC) are assisting over one million students with financial aid, amounting to $2.7 billion according to ICAC.

To qualify for financial aid at a CCC, a student must be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen and registered with Selective Service. A candidate needs a high-school diploma, or an equivalent such as a GED.

“Regardless of age, the cost of higher education could never be a barrier for anyone, and anyone interested in or currently attending a CCC should apply for financial aid,” Gutierrez said.

Financial aid comes in different forms, primarily fee waivers, grants, and scholarships. The Board of Governors (BOG) fee waiver is only available for California Community College students and waives the per unit enrollment fee at any CCC.

Federal Grants are given based on financial status only and are not affected by grades or class rank. The money does not need to be paid back unless a student drops out early and it is decided they owe a refund.

Cal Grants only go to community college students in the state of California and are only available to those who meet academic and financial requirements.

The mission statement of the City College financial aid office is to “provide financial aid assistance and academic eligibility awareness to students as they pursue their educational goals.” The college offers financial aid as well as financial aid counseling.

CalWorks is a program that provides many basics, but is not limited to assistance in paying for classes. They offer meal vouchers, books, and public transportation passes or gas cards.

Liana Gevorkyan, who helps at CalWorks said, “We have financial support; we help with footsteps; footsteps is a card where you can buy a free meal.”

Some people are not as pleased with the financial aid office saying they ask the wrong questions and lack finesse with personal records.

“I’ve had to explain to each person my full story to each and every person. I shouldn’t have to do that,” said Nick Lindley, a City College student.


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