Long time students being bashed by the federal government

Erin Smith, Opinion editor

I started my college “career” at Diablo Valley College over 10 years ago, and since the summer of 2006 have racked up 157 attempted units – this semester included – as well a five-page long unofficial transcript.

With the help of academic renewal and the ability to withdraw, it’s been reduced to about 67 attempted units.

However, nothing ever really goes away forever, and when it comes to government money this is especially true.

I never received any money from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) until I returned to DVC in the spring of 2015. This was because I previously lived with my parents, who claimed me as a dependent and therefore my income was their income according to the federal government. Because everyone’s parents can afford their kids college tuition, right?

My financial aid was coming in just fine, until I began receiving letters stating, “students are not eligible to receive financial aid funds after they have attempted 150 percent of units needed for a degree.”

I, apparently, had “exceeded the maximum time frame.”

I now had to write an appeal to answer why I thought an exception should be made in my case.

An exception?

How about that I was being denied needed funds for events that took place a decade ago, when I wasn’t even enrolled in the FAFSA program?

It soon became my understanding that every unit I had ever attempted, withdrawn from, passed, failed, transferable or otherwise was now being used against me.

I suffered through 26 units of nontransferable math before I found STATWAY, all of which were being counted toward my limit regardless of their status.

In a press release, dated July 9, 2012, the California Community College’s Board of Governors moved forward to make an exception for students in regards to enrollment regulations.

“Students in good academic standing who have not exceeded 100 units (not including units in basic English, math or English as a Second Language) will have priority over students who do not meet these criteria,” the press release stated.

Why then are remedial units being counted toward a degree in regards to financial aid?

The only thing I can relate this to is how the country’s law books are unable to keep up with technological advances.

Revenge porn has been around since the dawn of the internet, but, according to the Los Angeles Times, was only recently outlawed in California in Oct. 2013, the first conviction happening just a few days ago in San Diego.

It’s time for the way financial aid is dealt with to be updated to reflect more modern times. There are newer and better programs being offered at community colleges to help students along that should be acknowledged when dealing with people’s livelihoods.