By Sylvana Uribe/Staff Writer

California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris updated students about transfer programs and changes in student eligibility for the Board of Governor’s fee waiver during a teleconference Wednesday, April 15.
Through the fee waiver, enrollment fees are paid by the state. The application took into account a student’s financial situation with regard to their dependency status and income. Effective in Fall 2016, students will also have to maintain a 2.0-3.0 GPA and completion rate above 50 percent or else risk losing the waiver.
ASB Rep. of Communications Brittany Lieberman, 25, a communications major, said, “Most of us get burned out at some point in the semester and a minimum GPA requirement can help students pull through in order to keep receiving Financial Aid.”
The chancellor also provided an update about the pilot program permitting Community Colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees, which intends to close the gap of degree holders needed in the workforce. The program is part of Senate Bill 850, which was introduced by California Sen. Marty Block of San Diego and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014.
Of the 34 colleges who applied, 15 were selected based on the proposals submitted about the program’s diversity as well workplace demands in the surrounding area. Twelve bachelor degrees programs have been approved so far, including airplane manufacturing at Antelope Valley College
Harris said, “These (degrees) are more technically oriented and legislation requires we not duplicate programs available at the CSU and U.C. level. These were designed to be in areas where the job market is changing.”
LBCC President Eloy Oakley has spoken before in favor of the pilot program, in particular for colleges in rural areas who do not have a university nearby, but said LBCC would not be among them. In a letter to the LBCC community, Oakley said the college would continue to focus on preparing students for transfer or obtaining a certificate in a career field.
The college recently celebrated a success as part of the Long Beach College Promise as it was recognized for its innovations in higher education with a $5 million prize. The partnership began in 2008 between Long Beach Unified School District, LBCC and Cal State Long Beach and is predicted to reduce the amount of time it takes to earn a degree for one-quarter of transfer students.
Adriana Lomas, 23, a child development major, said, “The idea of a Community College offering a 4-year degree is good because it saves students money and allows more flexibility for those trying to balance it with outside things, like work. However, as it is, LBCC is surrounded by great schools and has resources that make transferring easier.”