By The Bakersfield Californian
Kern Community College District's board on Thursday will vote to send letters to Bakersfield College students advising them that BC will no longer offer federal loans because of high default rates starting July 2013.
The letters were already sent out to students last month via email. BC officials have said they were sent out "proactively" in preparation for the plan's acceptance by the board.
Once accepted by the board, BC will contact students again.
The college is making the move to avoid potential fines and federal sanctions for allowing default rates to exceed 27 percent over a three-year period, according to KCCD reports. In 2010, 27.8 percent of 1,200 BC students defaulted on their federal student loans, up from 13.9 percent just two years earlier, according to BC reports.
Sanctions include all financial aid -- including free aid like Pell Grants -- being pulled for all students.
The district's other colleges -- Cerro Coso and Porterville colleges -- have already stopped offering federal student loans.
Student advocates have said that community college students in need of aid may have to turn to riskier forms of debt or work excessive hours as a result. California Community College Association of Student Trustees and the Institute for College Access and Success have sent KCCD trustees letters urging them to maintain access to federal loans at BC.
About 1,850 BC students last school year collected nearly $6 million in federal loans.
The meeting is at 2 p.m. in the Weill Institute at 2100 Chester Ave. In other business, the board is expected to:
* Vote on approving a new associate's degree in studio arts.
* Vote to execute a "letter of understanding" with Bakersfield City School District to host a middle school readiness math/science enrichment project at BC. The project will teach math, science and planning skills to 32 migrant students entering middle school.
* Review and vote on approving an annual five-year construction plan that includes the following projects: BC student services modernization, Delano center multi-purpose room, BC maintenance and operations building, BC language arts remodel and BC fine arts remodel.
Greenfield Union School District's board in closed session today will discuss the appointment of a new chief business official.
If one is chosen, the board will announce it to the public. Current assistant superintendent of business Dennis Franey is retiring at the end of the month.
In other business, the board is expected to approve increases in the prices of school meals in accordance with U.S. Department of Agriculture pricing.
For the 2012-13 school year, meal prices will be $1 for breakfast and $1.50 for lunch; in 2013-14, prices will be $1.25 for breakfast and $2 for lunch; in 2014-15, prices will be $1.50 for breakfast and $2.25 for lunch; and in 2015-16, prices will be $1.75 for breakfast and $2.50 for lunch.
The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at 1624 Fairview Road.
-- Jorge Barrientos, Californian staff
For more education news, go to The Californian's education blog, The Grade, at www.bakersfield.com/thegrade or follow The Grade's Twitter at twitter.com/TBCTheGrade.