New conditions for summer financial aid prove stifling

By Bethaney Lee

To be considered a full-time student and claim the full amount of a financial aid award package during a summer semester at City College has now been made nearly impossible due to the internal college policies and stringent Federal Pell Grant regulations.  

In order for a student to be considered full-time during a summer semester, they are required to take the “maximum of eight units,” says Lisa Romano, chair of the New Students Counseling department.

“The summer term is short and intense. Class meets more often and for longer hours,” Romano continued. “Depending on the course that a student wants to enroll in, we may advise that they only take one course.  In other instances, we might suggest 2 courses.”

 This becomes a large problem for students seeking funding and services through the Financial Aid Office. “For financial aid purposes, full-time is considered different than our enrolled full-time students. It is the same process as fall and spring through financial aid, so it’s 12 or more units for summer to be considered full-time,” said Elizabeth Coria, dean of financial aid.  

“It is really not advisable for a student to take 12 units in the summer,” Romano said. As a general rule, a counselor will not sign off on this.

 If a student were to do the unadvisable and find a counselor willing to let them take 12 units, they would be committing to six weeks of classes at five days a week, with an estimated in-class time of 25 hours per week.

Factoring in the two to three hours per unit of homework given in a semester unit, then doubling it to adjust for a condensed summer term schedule, a student would be responsible for a study period of 48-72 hours.

Combined with in-class time (25 hours), the Financial Aid Office expects a staggering total of 73-97 hours from full-time summer students.

“Whatever a counselor decides to see fit to sign off on, they can do. But there are students who

took 12 units over the summer,” Coria said.

There are 168 hours in a week. If eight hours are reserved for sleeping each day, that would leave 112 waking hours. This would leave a student with only 15-39 hours per week for transportation to and from school, meals, paying bills and maintaining a life.

“There is a calculation, there’s a formula,” Coria said. “Some institutions have the flexibility in how they want to determine themselves as an institution. For enrollment purposes, the school can consider themselves full or half-time. CCSF has chosen that full-time in summer is eight units. That is CCSF’s internal policy and the decision they made.”

City College students wait in line for the financial aid office in Conlan Hall August 17, 2016. (Photo by Izar Decleto / The Guardsman).
City College students wait in line for the financial aid office in Conlan Hall August 17, 2016. (Photo by Izar Decleto / The Guardsman).