Opinions & Editorials

$17 goes a long way to assist students with health issues

By Diane Carter and John Marshall


City College of San Francisco

Positive Health Outcomes for California Community College Students


Each semester, the S.F. City College Health Service Program delivers significant health services to students through on campus appointments.

The goal of the City College health service program is “to uphold the physical, social, and emotional well-being of students registered for credit classes.” The program also serves eight satellite campuses.

While they are are culturally responsive to every ethnic and gender community, due to budget constraints, services are provided only to registered credit students at $17.00 per semester (state mandated fee).

Foreign students on F-1 Visas enrolled in credit classes must also enroll in the City College Health Service program, by purchasing an international student basic policy, mandated by the federal government.

City College international students must belong to Ascension Benefits and Insurance Solutions with Blue Cross Blue Shield at $870.00 per semester. These students benefit greatly, because by gaining coverage in one large insurance pool, international students get the best possible insurance at the lowest cost.



County wide political advocacy helps City College Student Health Services maintain and expand student services. Active community doctors and specialists cooperate and reinforce the efforts of nurse practitioners and mental health professionals at the student clinic on campus.

Student Health Services, while separate by design and location, belongs to a widely connected political health network within the city and county of San Francisco. The network also covers classified and certified employee health plans, including City College teachers in Local 2121. The network benefits everyone in different ways and provides more options for health services to our students.

The main City College student health center is located on our Ocean Campus and is staffed by six classified employees, seven nurse practitioners and eight psychotherapists.

Our student health services are the result of cooperative community planning and development. City health service programs can be utilized to augment campus clinic services, creating a synergy of health services.



Here is a comparative table of the services provided by health service fees paid by City College students in comparison with services provided by Laney College’s Health Program.

Type of Service At City College San Francisco? At Laney College, Peralta Community College District ?
Medical assessment of

common acute illnesses,

Laboratory tests as determined to be necessary by examination

First Aid Yes Yes
Emergency Care while on campus  Yes Yes
Blood pressure screening

and use of self-monitoring blood pressure machine

 Yes Yes
Weight Management Assistance and Nutritional Counseling  Yes Yes
Smoking Cessation Model HSS outreach and community engagement program   Yes Yes
Family Planning and Birth Control Counseling for single individuals   Yes Yes
Women’s Health Issues

Including STD screening for all genders, Family Pact Program for low income married couples.  Previous or current emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.





Mental Health Services provided by multicultural, multilingual, and licensed psychologist able to work with gay, lesbian, transgender etc. students; licensed clinical social workers as well as post master’s interns in mental health and post-doctoral fellows in psychology supervised by staff. (Confidentiality guaranteed). Appointments for confidential counseling and therapy. Issues of gender identity. Adjustment issues. Yes


Yes (Interns only at College of Alameda)


Psychologically significant issues including relationship conflicts with partners, parents, bosses, roommates,

Loss (death)

Problems with studying

Trauma issues

Immunizations including


Flu Shots

MMR (Measles,   Mumps, Rubella)

Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis

Hep A, Hep B

TwinRix (Some vaccines may require a added charge) students make appointments.  HPV (Gardasil)

TB Skin Tests




Yes (Only Flu and TB Skin Testing)

Dental Resources List Provided (Referred Outside) List Provided (Referred Outside)
Alcohol, heroin or other drug addiction treatment. Yes Yes (no direct treatment but resources provided)


The information provided regarding City College student health services was discussed with Chris Brodie, our student health financial technician.

“Yes, most of the student health fee goes toward free clinic visits on campus. However, we are lucky to be in San Francisco where the community really wants to be helpful to all of its residents,” Brodie says.

“All visits at the student health center are free and covered by our student health fee but there may be a small fee for certain blood tests. However, our health center prioritizes certain blood tests related to reproductive processes and can usually get the cost of those test covered by a third party agency,” Brodie says.

Some fees apply to certain laboratory tests and immunizations. Other lab tests and immunizations are free when administered to a student by appointment in the health center.

The health center is open five days a week with variable hours during which students book appointments. Total hours in which appointments can be made weekly are thirty-five hours and forty five minutes.

Chris states that there is a likelihood of the student health fee at City College being increased next semester.

California currently permits community colleges to charge students up to $20 per semester.

Various campus town hall meetings concerning the proposal to increase the City College student health fee to $20 have been held, and a request for fee increases have gone before our Board of Participatory Governance. As far as the current status of the proposal is concerned, it is very likely that the student health fee at City College will be raised soon, especially when compared to other California community college student health fees, says Brodie.
Laney College

The Peralta Community College District provides a variety of health services that students use daily. The goal of the Health Services program is “to support access and care for all Peralta students,” and according to the all of the services provided, the district is meeting that goal.

Laney College, one of the community colleges in the district, usually handicapped by budgetary concerns, has a financially sound health services program.

The $18 health fee that every student must pay, implemented in 2010, has been able to sustain existing programs and produce new ones. The fee provides services from mental health counseling to popular acupuncture and massage sessions.

“Luckily we have a good reserve, we never overspend and are able to create some creative programs,” said Indra Thadani, director of both Peralta’s and Laney’s health services.

Thadani, who has been with Laney for 18 years, has used the financially flexibility to produce events.  On Oct. 18 students were able to participate in exercises, meditation, and student feedback led by an educational psychologist. A similar event is due to take place in during the spring semester.

In order to address the most pressing health concerns the district conducted a health assessment survey in 2016 that included 1,403 students across all four of Peralta’s colleges.

Among the top concerns was stress at 19 percent, weight at 18 percent and depression at 11 percent.

With stress being a huge factor in the lives of students, mental health services are often backed up. Students are able to see a mental health counselor between 8 to10 times a semester.

“With the mental health we do have a waiting list and this year with the political environment and all the horrendous things have made mental health creep up,” said Thadani.

What sets the Peralta District’s health services apart from the others is the acupuncture and massage therapy that came to fruition under Thadani in 2002, with grants from UC Berkeley. The program has grown to all four campuses and is offered on different days for each campus.

“We are the premiere pioneers to begin acupuncture and massage,” said Thadani.

Laney student Sophie Camara is happy about the services, “I use it when I have cold symptoms, need supplies or want to get a massage,” she says.

LGBTQ students should also feel comfortable, with faculty that are involved with the community and provide support for those students who might be struggling. Counselors are also given a refresher on LGBTQ concerns annually.

Where Peralta does fall short of the mark is immunizations. While City College provides immunizations for an extra payment, Peralta gives flu vaccines and tuberculosis tests.

The waiting room at the Student Health Services Center at City College Ocean Campus has a machine where students can come and check their blood pressure on Nov. 22, 2017. Photo by Diane Carter/The Guardsman.
The waiting room at the Student Health Services Center at City College Ocean Campus has a machine where students can come and check their blood pressure on Nov. 22, 2017. Photo by Diane Carter/The Guardsman.


The front exterior entrance of the Student Health Services Center on Nov. 22, 2017. Photo by Diane Carter/The Guardsman.
The front exterior entrance of the Student Health Services Center on Nov. 22, 2017. Photo by Diane Carter/The Guardsman.




The City College Journalism Department, in conjunction with Laney College’s Journalism Department, worked together for issue 8 of our newspapers to produce a unique collaborative issue. Inside this issue you will find articles written using cross reporting, where journalists from each department came together and developed their stories under a dual byline. If you would like to contact reporters about questions or comments in regards to collaborative articles, please email blee@theguardsman.com.

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