U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez assured Fresno State students last week that they were not alone in figuring out ways to pay for their educations.
Sanchez visited campus on Sept. 7 to chat with and meet the Fresno State Democrats, a student club; faculty, staff and other students.
The representative from Los Angeles explained that she is in the process of introducing a bill that would double the amount of the Pell Grant if passed. Doubling the size of the Pell Grant would enable students to have summer school paid for. Currently, full-time students during the spring and fall semesters, have to pay for summer school independently.
“You’re looking at someone who went to college on a Cal Grant A, on the union scholarship,” she said. “My master’s degree was paid for by the Rotary Club of Anaheim.”
“I believe that if someone wants to take the time and the effort to make something of themselves and go to school, that we as a society, whether you’re business people, the Rotary Club, government, labor, that we all need to get behind our people and educate them.”
If her bill passes, classes would also be paid for a longer duration. Currently, students can get six years of Pell Grant eligibility.
“One of the things we are seeing is that, we have so many more people who want to get an education,” Sanchez said. “California is a young place. Many want an opportunity.”
Sanchez also discussed using community colleges, just as she did.
“Some people who can’t go straight into a four-year university can get their general education done at a community college,” she said.
“My community college, by the way, down there in Santa Ana… this year, we’ve raised enough money between our business groups and our foundations that every freshman entering Santa Ana College is going to have tuition for free for them,” she added.
Sanchez is a proponent of creating four-year programs at community colleges. Currently there are 16 community colleges offering these degrees.