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Thursday, August 4, 2022

Coast District Forgives Student Debts For Immediate Release: August 4, 2022

Blue waves followed by the words Coast Colleges with logos for Coastline College, Golden West College, and Orange Coast College beneath.

Nearly $4.5 million in federal COVID-19 Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) allocations have been identified to pay off and forgive outstanding debt that students have accumulated at Coastline College, Golden West College, and Orange Coast College from Spring 2020 through Spring 2022. The announcement was made by Coast Community College District Chancellor John Weispfenning during a Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, August 3, 2022.

"Many students and families in our district have struggled to make ends meet over the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic," Chancellor Weispfenning said. "This one-time relief clears away a financial barrier for those students who are ready to complete their program, either by staying enrolled or returning as active students."

Resident fees for the community colleges are $46 per unit. The Coast District has worked to maximize financial aid for California students to cover educational costs. Colleges in the district awarded some $70 million in fee waivers, grants, scholarships, and work study in each of the last three years. Still, those who withdraw from classes after receiving financial aid may be required to pay that money back. These and other costs can accumulate and lock students out from registration.

"Clearing past debt will help students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic while supporting student retention and completion," said Dr. Andreea Serban, Coast District Vice Chancellor of Educational Services and Technology. "This is a win for students, our colleges, and the communities we serve, as well as being exactly the type of targeted intervention one-time federal relief funds were meant to address."

The debt payoff and forgiveness will happen automatically for eligible current and former students. Colleges will contact students to notify them that debts are cleared and financial holds on registration have been removed. The Board of Trustees will review the details of the debt-relief rollout on August 17, 2022.

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