District to review removing financial holds for former students

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If approved, the program will begin in the fall.

By Sergio Medina

smedina104@student.alamo.edu

The board of trustees plans to review the Fresh Start program for students at the next regular board meeting Feb. 26. 

Under the program, former students who left without graduating and with financial holds of $500 or less on their records could re-enroll.

During the committee-of-the-whole meeting Feb. 19, Dr. Diane Snyder, vice chancellor for finance and administration, said the program would encourage students to return to college.

In an interview Feb. 19, President Robert Vela said, “It’s really giving students that have had a balance over the years, like, let’s say they leave for some reason, and you owe the district $120 or something like that, and you haven’t been able to come back because you haven’t paid that.”

That becomes a registration hold, he said. 

Snyder said there are about 277,000 people in San Antonio who have college credit but no credential.

“There are about 9,000 of those that have been at Alamo Colleges before and have owed us some old balances,” she said.

Unpaid balances prevent these students from re-enrolling or asking for an academic transcript for other schools.

“So with this program, what we’re calling Fresh Start, we’re really going after these small, old, unpaid balances to us that prevents them from registering and completing a degree or certificate,” Snyder said. 

She said returning students would have to enroll for at least six credit hours; after completing them with a C or better, the district would “scholarship” their old balance.

Students will be able to enroll in financial aid to pay for the courses, if needed.

Students will be encouraged to attend a financial literacy workshop, develop academic plans with advisers and interact with student advocacy services. 

“Because life happens — other challenges — and we now have a lot of other services that we can connect these students to,” Snyder said.

If approved, the program will go into effect in the fall.

While promoting the program is still under planning, Chancellor Mike Flores suggested mailing information to students. 

District 7 trustee Yvonne Katz said, “This is really, really a super idea. Nine thousand students, I mean that’s a huge number of students out there that we should be able to contact and get them back in.”

 

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