The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) held a student media teleconference on May 6.
The conference provided insight on in-person campus reopening, vaccine requirements, background on AB 1456 Cal Grant Reform and other topics.
The CCCCO’s mission is to help all students from different backgrounds reach their goals and close achievement gaps. Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley began with an overview of different topics and then opened the floor to questions from student journalists as well as some community college staff.
Starting with the topic of reopening and vaccinations, Chancellor Oakley stated that the CCCCO is asking all the colleges to plan a reopening in the fall.
“We know many of our students are eager to get back to in-person learning, to get back to in-person support programs,” Chancellor Oakley said.
Colleges are working on plans to accommodate students when they return, and Chancellor Oakley strongly encouraged students to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
“We want students, we want faculty and we want staff to be in a position where they protect themselves and their communities by getting vaccinated,” he said. (For more information on the COVID-19 vaccines and setting an appointment, people can visit this link.)
While the CCCCO strongly encourages all the schools’ staff and faculty to get vaccinated, California community colleges are broken up into 73 different districts and each district will make its own decision on vaccine requirements.
Chancellor Oakley then discussed Bill 1456, the Cal Grant Reform. This would provide more financial aid to community college students. Working through the existing Cal Grant program, community college students will receive more aid and help them pay for the true cost of college.
The reform also hopes to change the current Cal Grant program so that there are no more GPA verification requirements, no time out of high school or age requirements and a new application deadline of Sept. 2.
The CCCCO has taken a support of this bill.
“We believe it’s important for all the reasons I touched on, but it also makes state resources available to our lowest income, most vulnerable students,” Chancellor Oakley said.
The last thing that Chancelor Oakley brought up was the American Families Plan. The plan is a $1.8 trillion framework that seeks to expand access to education, reduce the cost of childcare and provide more robust workers’ protection.
The relevance of the plan to education is that it will include $1.9 billion to cover two free years of community college for all Americans. It will also include $85 billion in Pell grants and about $1400 per grant, for students.
“We want to make sure that students, faculty and staff are aware of this because we want to make sure that we reach out to every representative in Congress and make sure they know how important this is to our students and their families,” Chancelor Oakley said.