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You could be going to college for free, right now, or almost free anyways.  Many people are unaware of a California program that waves the tuition fees at community colleges throughout the state.

The Board of Governors fee waiver , or BOG waiver, waves the $46 per unit fee that students usually pay.  "Once the BOG fee waiver is applied they only have to pay about $29 a semester for their student activity fees and their health fees," explained Deborah Griffin the director of financial aid at Ohlone College. 

Students also still have to pay for their books and parking but the BOG waiver brings the cost of a parking permit down from $40 per semester to only $20.

This is different than the city sponsored free college programs announced in San Francisco and San Jose.  San Francisco’s program covers $500 worth of books and has no academic requirements.  San Jose plans to not only cover the full cost of books, but parking and transportation as well, however the program is limited to 800 low income students.

To qualify for a BOG waiver you must maintain a 2.0 grade point average and be a California resident for at least one year.  There are also income restrictions but they are based on house hold size so many still qualify.  "If a single person has a base income of $17,820 or less they can qualify for a Board of Governors fee waiver" Griffin said.  “Students just simply need to fill out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid to find out if they qualify”.  Not only will the FASFA application check to see if they’re eligible for the BOG waiver, they will also be checked against other programs that could possibly pay for the books and parking.

Currently there are over 5,500 Ohlone students receiving BOG waivers.  Once source in the financial aid offices estimates that as many as 70 percent of Ohlone’s 17,000 students could be eligible for the waivers meaning 6,400 are not taking advantage of the program.

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The student news site of Ohlone College
Free college already exists