May 5, 2000

State Senator Alpert will Go Back to College to Learn Firsthand About the Single Highest Cost of Attending Community Colleges

State Senator Dede Alpert will go back to college May 5th with a list of books to "buy" at the San Diego City College Bookstore, at the invitation of the college's student government, to see firsthand what for many students is the single highest cost of attending a community college.

The City College Associated Students (AS) hopes Senator Alpert's visit to the campus will result in even stronger support for legislation to expand financial aid for students, said AS Vice-President Jason Thompson.

"The cost of books outpaces tuition and commuting, and there are proposals in Sacramento that would really help low-income students," Thompson said.

Among the proposals he cites is an additional $10.4 million the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance added to the community college budget for book grants to low-income students.

Another proposal to provide relief from the high cost of textbooks is Assemblymember Denise Ducheny's bill, AB 2348, to exempt college textbooks from sales tax. Assemblymember Carl Washington has introduced Assembly Bill 2496 to provide book grants of up to $200 for low-income students.

Assemblymember George Runner proposes through AB 2010 to establish a system where all community college students would have the option of donating $1 per college unit to a fund that would be used to purchase textbooks for needy students.

Enrollment fees for community college students to attend classes is $11 per unit, or a total of $165 a semester for a full-time student enrolled in 15 units, whereas textbooks can cost several hundred dollars each semester. The California Student Aid Commission estimates books cost a full-time student $432 a semester, or $864 a year.

In addition to her visit to the City College Bookstore, Senator Alpert will meet with financial aid office staff, tour technology programs, and meet with students-all from approximately 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Senator Alpert chairs the Senate Education Committee and the Joint Committee on the Master Plan for Education-Kindergarten through University.

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