My first week of school is in the books! Talk about having my brain stretched. If sitting in class listening to lecture isn’t a total change of pace for me (it is), add to that learning a new campus, online school software, and parking lots, and my brain was kept seriously busy creating new synapses.
A note: community college is not inexpensive. It used to be. When I went to Modesto Junior College in 1995, it was about $11 per unit. When I went to Gavilan College in Gilroy to take Spanish classes in 2012, it was around $28 per unit. Nowadays, at Sierra College in Rocklin, units are $43 each. Books were always, and still are, very expensive, but there’s more opportunity to get around that expense, like renting books, or buying used.
I’m taking two courses this semester, Trigonometry and Chemistry. But, they’re four units each, so it’s almost $400 for two classes, before books, paying student service fees, and buying a parking permit. Many students are stretching their wallets to pursue higher education.
A gal in my Chem class came in on Wednesday and said, “I woke up at 5:30 AM, went to work, picked up my daughter from day care, dropped her off at home, and then came to class.” Chem is from 6:30 – 9:30 PM. What a very long day for her, and probably typical for most students here.
I’m a member of AAUW Roseville (American Association of University Women) and one of our scholarship programs is for women re-entering college. The candidates started out with higher education and had to quit due to work or family issues. One woman we gave the scholarship to was the first to go to college in her family, but she didn’t receive any support from her family for her goals to pursue college. She moved away from Fresno to try to start fresh in Roseville.
She and her five-year-old daughter lived in a hotel until they could get an apartment that she could afford. She’s now working and going to school full time. But, it’s a financial balancing act because if you make a certain amount of money, you can’t receive state support, and if she’s not going to school full time, she loses her financial aid.
Our organization was able to provide her with a scholarship for $1000 per semester for four semesters of school. I can’t describe to you how grateful this woman was for additional financial support.
So, from this, two things, and they both have to do with the fact that there are so many human stories at community college.
First, I would love to see it be free for anyone who wants to attend community college. There are currently four states that offer free community college education: Rhode Island, New York, Tennessee, and Oregon. When I complete my educational goals (and maybe even before that) I would be interested to be involved in the promotion of tuition-free education.
Second, it would be so great to be able to set up a scholarship for women with a desire to pursue the allied health fields, living and working locally. Many women who wish to improve their lives through higher education often have financial barriers to taking the next step. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to help out?