A.S. Academic Affairs Committee unsuccessfully proposed the creation of an appeals process against the elimination of financial aid eligibility for students with 150 units. Prior to the change, students were able to receive financial aid up to 180 units.
“It’s geared more towards non-traditional students and transfer students with excessive units,” said Mallad Kashnood, chair of the Academic Affairs Committee.
The new unit cap only affects a student’s ability to receive financial aid.It does not influence whether or not the student graduates, said Cynthia Rawitch, associate vice president of undergraduate studies.
Should a student enroll past 150 units, they become required to secure funding, whether it is through private loans or out-of-pocket.
Kashnood said while in a meeting discussing the possibility of an appeals process, Rawitch said that most students graduate (before taking 150 units), so few students are affected by the lack of appeals process.
Most students who fit this criteria are those students who change their majors late into their college careers or earn an associate’s degree at a community college. The latter group’s units are then taken with them to CSUN, but may not necessarily apply to their majors, thus pushing them over the acceptable amount of units, Kashnood said.
Budget cuts have depleted the amount of money that may be passed to students through financial aid. Because the average student takes more than four years to graduate, open class seats are in higher demand, Kashnood said. He added that these elements may influence whether or not an official appeals process is created in the future.
There is currently no way to appeal the financial aid limitation if students find themselves in possession of over 150 units and are still in need of federal financial assistance, but Kashnood said he left the proposal in the organization’s minutes for future academic affairs committees to reconsider, should the economy improve.
“I brought it up because students wanted me to,” Kashnood said. “Some senators are dealing with this issue and transfer students have approached me, concerned about funding their education.”
A.S. President Conor Lansdale said he understands the rationale behind the decision and speculated that it could be a graduation incentive or, more realistically, a way to redirect money to those who need it most.
“If you are just taking classes for the sake of taking classes, then you should pay (tuition) in full,” he said.