BOG Waiver to become Promise Grant; Financial aid program changes name, updates

Students get help at the Financial Aid Office in Rodda Hall North. The BOG Fee Waiver, which provides qualifying students with help covering enrollment fees, is being renamed the Promise Grant. | Photo by Jiaxin Lu · jlu.express@gmail.comStudents get help at the Financial Aid Office in Rodda Hall North. The BOG Fee Waiver, which provides qualifying students with help covering enrollment fees, is being renamed the Promise Grant. | Photo by Jiaxin Lu · jlu.express@gmail.com

Marilyn Franco
Staff Writer
mfranco.sccexpress@gmail.com

 

Say goodbye to BOG, and meet its sleek, new rebranding — the Promise Grant.

By fall 2018, California community colleges will stop referencing the fee waiver as the BOG and replace the name with the California College Promise Grant; by fall 2019, the old name will be phased out completely.

This isn’t the first change the grant has seen, though.

Since fall 2016, the fee waiver has had different requirements for eligibility, according to Pam Tuzza, head of outreach for City College’s Financial Aid Office. To qualify for the waiver, students must now maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher and complete more than 50 percent of coursework in two consecutive terms, excluding summer.

“By changing the name, it doesn’t make it seem like a handout, but more of an agreement or partnership,” said City College student Mariah Castillo. “Also, the 2.0 minimum requirement keeps students motivated and accounted for.”

Another change to financial aid is the removal of the ATM next to the Financial Aid Office. Students can now use Allpoint ATM Locator, a website and app, to find the nearest ATM to use fee-free, said Financial Aid Supervisor Rukiya Bates.

Once students have submitted the FAFSA or Dream Act application, they will receive their aid through BankMobile. Students should log on and select their preferences to receive aid, by either choosing a transfer to an existing account, a deposit to a BankMobile account or by a check, according to Bates. Disbursements are divided by term, one at the beginning and one at midpoint.

According to Tuzza, students can apply for the BOG Fee Waiver through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or the Dream Act applications. They can apply to the FAFSA and Dream Act starting Oct. 1–March 2 to receive aid for the 2018 school year.

“This is to benefit students, but it put everything back a year,” said Tuzza.

For the FAFSA and Dream Act applications to be open earlier, there needed to be an overlap between years. For parents and students wondering why they needed to input their 2015 taxes for both the 2016 and 2017 school years, it stems from the different start and end dates of the applications.

“We needed to overlap so that we could open up to Oct. 1,” said Tuzza. “This is to benefit students.”

The result is students get an earlier start on their application and have more time to finish it.

To remain eligible for financial aid, however, it is important to have a financial-aid eligible major, according to Tuzza.

“A.A. degrees are financial-aid eligible,” she said, “but not all certificate programs are.”

Tuzza recommends that students meet with a counselor and select a specific major on their application, rather than selecting “undeclared” or “undecided.” Also, students enrolled in 12 or more units are eligible to receive the maximum financial award available. This helps students receive the highest amount of aid available.

Some students feel discouraged to apply for financial aid because they think they won’t receive aid, said Bates, who encouraged students to complete their financial aid.

There are many aid opportunities that open up when students apply. However, the process isn’t instantaneous.

“The process takes time in order to review the documents,” said Tuzza. “Keep your eye on eServices.”

Students should log into their eServices account and check their “To-Do List” to see if the Financial Aid Office needs any paperwork to process the application.

There is also a financial aid lab on campus where students can receive help.

“The lab is open for students to get guidance with FAFSA and Dream Act five days a week,” said Bates. “It is a great benefit for students to get hands-on help.”

Above all, the message financial aid officers want to hammer home is to just apply.

“Apply, apply, apply,” said Tuzzo.

 

Located in Rodda Hall North 159, the Financial Aid Office’s hours are 8 a.m.–6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

For students who need assistance with financial aid, the financial aid lab is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m.–6 p.m. and on Friday from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. in Business Building 153.