Associated Students voted in support of the increased daily and semester parking fees at an A.S. meeting held on Tuesday, Nov. 21.
The daily parking permit is set to increase by $1 and the semester parking permit is set to increase by $5. As a result, students would have to pay $3 for the daily parking permit and $40 for the semester parking permit.
The reason for the increase in parking fees is to increase funds towards renovating parking lots, acquiring off-campus parking lots and a possible shuttle service that will transport students in the first couple of weeks of a new semester, according to Rodrigo Garcia, Vice President of Administrative Services.
Students like 22-year-old Dylan Reyes often have a difficult time finding parking. “There’s not enough parking here,” the psychology major said. “The parking here at the beginning of each semester is like actual hell. If the renovations get done quickly, then I guess the fee increases are worth it.”
However, these proposed increases must first be agreed upon in junction with Cypress College and the North Orange County Community College District, according to Gilbert Contreras, the Vice President of Student Services.
Another fee change A.S. voted in support of at the meeting was the student health fee, which is currently $19, but is subject to change depending if the state of California increases the fee.
The student health fee is mandated by the California Education Code and requires all students to pay a health fee unless students are attending a community college under an approved apprenticeship training program or rely upon a prayer for healing in accordance with the teachings of a religious organization. Students must show proper documentation to the Director of Health Services Vanessa Miller if they meet either criteria.
FC is currently able to increase the fee by $1 but instead chooses not to. FC wants a change in AP/BP 5030 fees so when the state does increase the health fee, so can FC, Contreras said. The potential increases would expand FC services in mental health and psychologists for students.
Furthermore, A.S. also voted to oppose any changes to the non-resident tuition fee. “It might not increase at all, it might decrease, but A.S. stands that we were opposed to either of those,” said Taylor Gaetje, A.S. President.
The non-resident tuition fees are a calculation done by NOCCCD and the states transfer office which happen every year, but always happen in December. After they finish their calculations, they take a state-wide average and distribute that formula to all other districts. After districts calculate their own fees, they determine whether they want to move forward with their own fees or state-wide fees.
“We also take into account all our contiguous districts because we want to make sure that we’re fair with everybody around,” Garcia said. “We want to make sure that we’re not charging more or less than our neighboring colleges.”
However, time is sensitive as the transfer office wants changes approved by Feb. 1. Garcia and Contreras advised students to email them or visit the board to express their concerns.
Quynh Pham is one of many non-resident students at FC. The 22-year-old is an international student from Vietnam who faces financial challenges, including paying a tuition fee of $249 per unit for being a non-resident. “If it increases, I can not afford it for my future. I’m spending two years here and what do I do? Do I go back [to Vietnam]? Do I stay here? I’m struggling,” said the child development major.
The final fee A.S. voted on was an Orange County Transportation Authority Bus Pass Program in which they decided to postpone any decision until spring when they will hear from a representative from OCTA. The fee would require all students to pay a fee, and in return, students would either get free or discounted bus services.
“The earliest and most optimistic would be a fall  launch,” said Contreras. “A spring 2019 launch is more feasible if [A.S.] supports it.”
Students can look at Santa Ana College as a potential example. SAC currently has a 3-year transportation program in collaboration with OCTA. SAC students are able to ride fixed-route buses for free as long as students have an activated student ID. However, the first year of their program is being funded by the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program. Starting fall 2018, SAC students will have to pay a fee.
In addition, A.S. also motioned to approve of the Healthy Campus Initiative proposed by St. Jude Medical Center. In this initiative, the campus must meet 23 required objectives in order to earn this designation.
Update 12/13: Added quotes and information from Rodrigo Garcia and Gilbert Contreras.