CSUSB Advising Podcast

Ep. 2 - Financial Aid and Getting Ready for Fall

August 09, 2020 Matt Markin and Star Wildes Season 1 Episode 2
CSUSB Advising Podcast
Ep. 2 - Financial Aid and Getting Ready for Fall
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to Episode 1 of the CSUSB Advising Podcast! Yoties, in this episode, we talk to Financial Aid to answer all your financial questions about disbursements and w/ Undergraduate Studies to offer advice taking classes in a virtual environment. Take a listen and enjoy! Go Yotes! 

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Welcome to the CSUSB advising podcast. Join us as we bring you the latest advising updates at Cal State San Bernardino. Each episode is specifically made for you, the CSUSB students and parents. We provide you with advising tips, interviews with both CSUSB campus resources and those in academic advising. Sit back and enjoy. Go Yotes!

Hey Yoties! Welcome to our first real episode of CSUSB advising podcast. We're super excited for you to be here and super excited for our fall semester to be starting in a couple weeks. My name is Matt Markin, I'm an academic advisor and the graduation pledge coordinator here at Cal State San Bernardino. And let me introduce to you, Star Wildes.

Hi, I'm Star Wildes, academic advisor and undeclared coordinator for the advising and Academic Services Office. I'm so excited about our new podcast, Matt, this is amazing. Longtime coming in another resource via our social platforms for our students and parents is exciting. What do we have for this podcast Matt?

Well? Yeah, so two great interviews coming up in a little bit, one for financial aid and one from the undergraduate studies office. I'm super excited for the fall to start. But students and parents, are you excited? Are you feeling nervous, anxious, and if you're feeling a combination of all of that, that is natural. We can't wait for our continued students to experience the semester system. And of course, we welcome all our new coyotes to the CSUSB family. But Star, just in case anyone missed our previous episode, tell everyone a little bit about yourself.

Hi, thanks, Matt. So I am a CSUSB graduate with a psychology degree and also a Master's in Public Administration concentration in leadership. I've been at CSUSB since 2002. Wow. If you guys could do the math. You maybe can find out how old I am. But I've been truly blessed and honored to work with amazing colleagues to help our students truly passionate about helping our students. I've held various positions on campus as a student assistant, and now an academic advising truly love what I do, and helping students and parents, right? And just guiding students on their academic journey. So Matt, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Yeah. And I will say, you know, you hear a lot of people say helping students and honestly, that is Star. That's the definition. You look up helping in the dictionary, you see Star's face right there. Likewise,

I started I kind of grew up here. We started around the same time. So I also started in 2002. I got my bachelor's degree in psychology and my Master's in education, more specifically in career and technical education. And I've worked in the admissions office, I worked in advising Academic Services now for goodness, seven years now as an academic advisor, so really love the campus. It's It's my home and I think Star as well, we'll say that this is her home too. I mean, we are coyotes for life, I think. And we hope that you enjoy this podcast. You learn a lot from it. Hopefully we're able to engage and connect with you through this podcast. But this is being posted on Monday, August 10. So what do we have coming up to look forward to? Well, hey, the fall semester is going to be starting but fall semester tuition fees are due August 13. If you are receiving financial aid, your fees are deferred until financial aid releases the aid and we're going to get to more information in our upcoming interview with financial aid in a little bit. But also just to let you know the first day of Saturday classes for the fall semester starts August 22. The first day of regular classes start August 24. And a couple more days to think about August 28 is the last day to add open classes for the fall semester through your myCoyote account and also on our August 28. That's the last day that the waitlist period ends. So what is all of this that we're talking about with adding with waitlist? Maybe you also have question about dropping or changing majors. Well, we do have the Office of the Registrar coming up in our next episode, but star, our first guest, we've had a lot of questions about financial aid. Can you intro us who our first guest is gonna be?

Amazing. Thank you so much, Matt. Yes, our guests for financial aid will be Diane Byrd. Diane has amazing a wealth of experience in the financial aid office. We've had the honor privilege of working with her via our live advising sessions on social media and she is going to be amazing. She's going to share a lot of the information you need to know about financial aid disbursements and everything you need to know as far as you know, the differences between Student Financial Services and financial aid. Super excited because I know a lot of students have had questions and let's without further ado, let's go ahead and join Diane for her interview.

Hi, I'm Diane bird. I'm with the financial aid office. I am currently the client services coordinator and advisor in the financial aid office. also welcome Diane

to our podcast and you've worked at infinity at Cal State San Bernardino. Can you tell us what you find most rewarding about your job?

most rewarding I can find in my job is helping students and getting them success to get their financial aid package in a timely manner and making sure they feel comfortable that they have enough financial aid to cover their tuition and fees. Or if they need extra expenses such as for housing or, you know, other things that might come up as far as car expenses or you know, books. That is awesome. And I know as we go into this fall semester semesters new for us all here at Cal State.

When should students expect your financial aid to be disbursed? I know this is a very important and a question that we've been asked many times.

Yes, we're getting a lot of those calls, we do starting fall, usually fine usually disburses about 10 days prior to the term. So we're looking around August 12. To start those disbursements, and we usually tell students allow three to five business days for that disbursement to you know, hit their account and then receive a refund.

What a question that we have to is my students talk about have questions about disbursement? Is it directly disbursed to them? Or does tuition campus fees get taken out first, how does that all work?

Okay, so once financial aid runs disbursement initially will pay any balance they have on their account for that term. It won't go back and pay previous balances, it will only pay that that term. So if you had charges for tuition and fees and housing, that financial aid would be that first. Anything that's remaining then goes to the student. So that's why they we encourage direct deposit that when you get your refund in a timely manner. If they don't have enough financially to cover their tuition, we recommend that they pay that difference before the due date of fees. So if they only have enough to cover, you know, their fees are $3,700. Let's say they only have about $2500 to cover, they want to pay that difference. And I know that's a lot of questions what we get on student accounts side because they will go in and try to make the difference, but it gives them the full amount, they just have to edit it and then put the remaining amount that they're gonna, they're gonna pay.

That's awesome. Thank you. I know we've had this question as well. If a student does not see any financial aid, via their account, and they have turned in all the documents that were requested by financial aid filed FAFSA, what can a student do?

I would definitely give us a call. So we are even though we're working remotely through these challenging times, we are on the phones from eight to five and I know recently we've had a little bit of a higher volume and calls because of course fees are becoming due and they're not seeing their packages. So it's definitely give us a call, as well as we also have an email that is a general email question. And that's financialaid@csusb.edu. Definitely can email that if you're unable to sit on the phone and wait for a live person to answer, usually, maybe they'll wait time. I know I've had her students 45 minutes to wait. But if you definitely want to give us a call, because if you don't have a package right now, it might be because your pending documentation or maybe there's something on our side that we overlooked that we need to effect so you'll get your aid awarded to you.

Basically for students keep trying, is the high high peak season, I guess right now for financial aid, but they are, you know, available. And so if you call email, you will get some some response from their office. Now, one question that comes up is, there's financial aid and scholarships, and there's also Student Financial Services. And I think sometimes there's a confusion in terms of like, well, what does each office do? Can you talk about maybe with each each department what the differences are.

Okay, so I know the departments gets confusing. They used to be called student accounts office, so it was a little bit easier, but then they changed the name of student financials. So then they call us and we're like, No, we don't, you know, do the payment plans. So student financials is directly they do the payment plans, they do if you're going to make a payment online, it's to them. Financial Aid is strictly awarding you based off your FASFA and your dream application. So when we receive those applications, we award students the dream students and students who are filling out the FAFSA and then we award it and then once we run disbursements, then that money is issued to student accounts office who then issues pays your tuition, your housing, etc. And then the money is then distributed to you if you have a refund. So students financial so when that disburse, we disburse it, they cut you know, basically pay the tuition and then cut the refunds. And then they work out the payment plans. Sometimes we have students that Might have prepaid their payment. And let's say they got a tuition fee paying programs such as Cal Grant or State University grant later on, that student would be encouraged to call student financials because they may have a credit on their account because they actually had to fill out a form to receive that credit, which is called a refund request form. So just keep in mind, there's some students that still panic with the pending financial aid, because they didn't see it dispersed. They they go ahead and make their payment. So a lot of times our money will pay and they have this credit, but they won't issue out the credit because if they already had paid cash or they pay by credit card. And if it was state funding that pay their tuition, they have to request it where they want the money to go towards back to that credit card, or they went back to their bank.

For students that need to turn in documentation. I know you had mentioned this before, but how I know they can fax, they can email. Can you provide that information for us again?

How may they be able to turn their documents in?

So right now, if you haven't been awarded financial aid, you might have a to do list item on your student Center. He wanted to definitely look at your Student Center. We actually have a couple tutorials on our Instagram page, which is @csusbfa, that shows you how to look at your award and your student center via laptop or via your mobile phone. You definitely want to look at that because a lot of that's a big question that we get I can't see anything I can't I don't know where to go do I go my financials? Do I go to my account? How do I review review that, but if you haven't to do such as verification or assistantship documentation, or Selective Service, anything that we're requesting, you want to either fax it, which is the numbers 909-537-7024 or definitely you can mail it, we do pick up mail and faxes about twice a week. However, we're still having the incoming information. So we're all departments enrollment management are working closely together to make sure that we get all the documents in and forwarded to to process so either is through fax either through his mail, or it might be through our enrollment management Dropbox right outside of University Hall, which is the primary entrance. We're getting a lot more documents in that Dropbox, I think it's more convenient for students, and at least a know fax machine. I'll be honest, you know, fax machine just never know even though you get that confirmation. It's like, okay, you know, we've had a few students, so I always advise, you know, you want to do it two ways, you maybe do fax and then maybe combined for the Dropbox, but you always want to make sure you put it in an envelope, sealed, attention, financial aid, and make sure all your documents your student ID number is in there. We have students dropping off just like we just need parents taxes so they drop off the taxes in the envelope, but they don't put the student's ID number. So we do we do research we do you know, we can find the student, but it would make it easier if you would just you know, put the student ID number on everything. That way, it's easy for us to track it and make sure we get the paperwork done in a timely manner, but those are the three sources. Now I do have staff that will email a student, I need this additional documentation signed in as long as it's not has a lot of private information such as tax returns, it was just a simple form mean their signature or checkbox, they miss a checkbox off the verification worksheet, we just say you know, go ahead and email it to my personal email. I mean, I've personally had that with students where they've had a statement missing from their SAP appeal. And so I've just said hey, you know, why don't you just put an email you know, email it to us because sometimes we can work that out with you and I we've do receive emails through the general one. We just hate for you to submit confidential information through the email because you just never know.

Definitely great advice and I think the Dropbox for sure is a great addition to have especially during this current time so at least they can go right outside University Hall put into Dropbox, they know it's safe and secure and that there is representatives that that are checking throughout the week. Now, you talked about email and talked about phone earlier, so a question with that, too is with students contacting financial aid and whether they're contacting via phone or email, I guess with email it, are they you mentioned general questions for email, they email anything specific for their their specific financial aid package or something specific for them? Would you rather have them call? Or can they still be answered through email?

So with a quick like, I work the financial aid and scholarships, emails as well with the associate director, and she pretty much works on we work on them daily. So anything that's maybe a general question like where do I find my financial aid award, or where to when are our disbursements, but if it's specific to like verification, or their SAP appeal, then we direct it to that staff member. So that staff member then usually replies to that student individually. So I get a lot of emails forwarded if our associate director is working and it's based on alpha right. So a lot of us work with an alpha basis per our students. So we look at the information, I get probably daily emails that I respond to the student and some of these students need appointments. So a lot of them are requesting, I really talked to a staff member, I really need to go over my appeal, I need to go over my verification, and so will respond such an email and I will ask, take, you know, I've got your email, I've read your, you know, questions, when would you like to set an appointment, and then they email you back and that's availability. So we do zoom appointments, we do phone appointments, whichever is comfortable for the student, especially students right now with special circumstances. So we have a lot of students in these trying times with COVID. A lot of students and parents have lost their jobs or they've been furloughed, or they're just going through a financial situation versus and because fastback is two years right? so fast, we put in 2018 information. Well, a lot has changed from 2019-2020. So we do have a link on our website that they can fill out of special cases application And then that directly is going to the financial aid advisor who specializes in those special circumstances and then they'll set up an appointment to, to talk to that student to see what type of information that we can do to help. Because again, a lot of these students things have changed. Or it could be you know, a parent had passed away or a divorce, anything that is a special circumstance. We have students that are foster youth students, we have students that are don't have contact with parent, and they may need to get in with a financial aid advisor for an appointment. So they definitely can email that general email or fill out the special cases on our website. It's under a award. I think it's under our main office page. Current Students i think is an award processing and a little link will show special cases and right there, they'll have to log into my coyote, fill out your information that goes directly to a manager, and then that manager will then forward that to that team to get ahold of the student. And usually it's about 24 for 24 hours 48 for that staff member to get back to them. But if it's after that they should be contacting us again, like, Hey, I reached out, I still haven't heard, definitely you may want to keep contact with us because I have students will, you know, have called three times or, you know, and that's where we don't want that to happen to a lot of students, you know, we want to be able to make sure that they're heard and make sure that their circumstance is taken care of, because we are in this, you know, pandemic.

Thank you so much. That's a great resource for students and for them to know about that. That's great. Thank you so much, Diane. Another question that we've had is, scholarships. How can students apply for scholarships? Can you let us know a little bit about how students can apply for scholarships and where they can apply?

Right now for the on campus scholarships that unfortunately is already closed for the academic year for 2021 but we're looking for the future. It opens up November 1 2020. So it kind of lines up with your FAFSA as fast when I still get this question. Oh, FAFSA opened in October. Yeah, like you want to work on at midnight on October 1. Definitely want to fill it out on October 1 dream application opens October 1. But the scholarships as a little bit, we kind of, say November 1, and then priority deadline and the deadline for scholarships is March 2 of every year. So those are on campus scholarships is a very easy process. And we do, I'm not sure how we're going to be doing your workshops this year. I know it's gonna be virtual. But we'll definitely be doing those workshops to kind of show you how to click on the link on your Student Center to apply for the scholarships. Now, there's a lot of off campus scholarships that you can go to through search engines. And when we have those available on our website as well under other aid, and I'm assuming, but as far as you know, definitely like look around. There's different types of places Southern California Edison. I know Cardenas is giving out scholarships. And so there's a lot of different areas in the Inland Empire themselves that give out scholarships.

And I think the kind of the way to look at is like there's there's money in a lot of different places, scholarships, grants, you know, loans. Now, as we get kind of towards the end of this interview, one of the questions that has come up a lot, especially with continuing students is SAP and they might look on their to do list and they see failed SAP or academic plan. Can you tell us what SAP is? And if students if it shows on their to do list, can they still do an appeal for SAP?

Okay, so satisfactory academic progress we run every year. It's because of its mandate by Department of Ed that we go by the quanitative and the qualitative standard, right? So it's basically looking at earned units versus attempted and it's also looking at your two year GPA. So to your GPA is about 2.0. So they earned units versus attempted if you fall under certain percentage as an undergrad or postbac. Then you do fail SAP. If you're overturned, I know the conversion between quarter and semester was a little bit like what do you mean I'm, I you know, last year I wasn't at 270 right? But Now I'm at down 180. So now I'm not meeting SAP because I'm over the units because I, you know, I'm gonna graduate over. And postbac students were, you know, at the term, so now it's down to eight terms versus the nine terms. So they they're, you know, it's, it's a conversion for everybody right to learn from the quarter versus semester. So, with a satisfactory academic progress, they usually will get a notification around July 1 of every year. And we have two different types. We have students and we have also have EOP students that come into this category. The difference is EOP students who don't meet satisfied to academic progress. They actually have to notify EOP office and they had to meet with an EOP counselor, they wouldn't send that information to our office. For other students. They do need some of the information. When they were given the letter they had 15 days to turn in that appeal from the time that they received the letter that they failed SAP. After those 15 days of financial aid was canceled, doesn't mean that they're not going to get the financial aid. However, they had timeframe, they need to submit the appeal form if they haven't yet already. And if they have an academic plan, which I know a lot of offices are pretty open in getting that signature to the students through Adobe. So I haven't seen alot of students have had that problem. But if you're having that problem in the academic plan, at least submit the appeal and your statement, and then once you get the academic plan, you can submit it later, we just want to make sure you get that information in because you fall in that 15 day window. So appeal, processing happens when a committee reviews them. They look at the circumstances of why the student had dropped courses. And again, a lot of the rules on our website for failing SAP is you're looking at grades to like the F's and no credits, and I know a lot of students to the no credits. We had a choice no credit or credit due to COVID, right? So unfortunately, those students who have to no credit that fell into that SAP rule, so a lot of times we see students that you know, drop because of COVID and they have their statements and there's something that's reviewed and looked at, right. But usually there's a turnaround around 7-10 businesses on these appeals. It's not more than four weeks. So we're trying to get those turned around as soon as possible. If we need additional documentation, we let them know. But they have to make sure they have everything turned in in the statement if they want to provide supporting documents such as, you know, if, let's say for instance, if they want to, it was a childcare issue. They want to provide a same from childcare right from their employer, they can do that. We don't, we don't mandate it. But we recommend any supporting documentation in a statement, you know, a statement just why you failed SAP, how you're going to overcome it and be successful the next year, and how, you know, they can get some assistance, and sometimes we refer them to different departments on campus when we approve the appeal.

I know that that we had a lot of questions and a lot of the questions that were shared via our social media outlets from students that we've met with, and again, we are just so happy that you're able to join us via this podcast. And thank you so much again, Diane really answered a lot of these questions in which will definitely help our students. Thank you. Let me join in.

And thank you so much, Diane for providing us information about financial aid. We are truly again, so grateful that you were here with us to provide us with this amazing information that students and parents need to know about. So, Matt, who will be joining us next.

Yes, thanks Star. So our next guest is Dr. Lesley Davidson Boyd. Lesley is currently the interim dean and a VP for Undergraduate Studies at CSUSB. She is also a faculty member at the University of Redlands teaching in the graduate counseling program. She is a counselor by trade and specializes in clinical issues affecting women and marginalized populations. Her research teaching and clinical work focus on the importance of mentorship and self reflection in the development and self efficacy and a sense of belonging and higher education. She completed her PhD in counselor education and supervision and her master's degree in career and clinical counseling. Lesley is a proud first generation student and a CSU alumni from the Inland Empire region of Southern California.

Lesley, welcome to the podcast. How are you?

Hi, thanks for having me on. Yeah, we're

glad that you're able to be on our first episode. This is gonna be I think, a really good interview. And I think you'll have a lot of great advice for our students. But I think for students and even parents, before we jump into all the questions to kind of get to know you. You've been at Cal State for a few years now you worked in various departments, thee Career Center, College of Natural Sciences, and now undergraduate studies. Can you kind of walk us through that that journey of Lesley at Cal State San Bernardino and then where you're at now?

Sure. Yeah. It's actually been 10 years in November. It'll be 10 years.

Congrats. Yeah.

So far I'm still here. So I started off in the Career Center. And then I also would coordinate all of our fairs. So it will bring employers to campus for hiring and things like that. And actually, when I was hired at Cal State, it was right in the middle of really, really bad budget times, there was only three of us that were in the entire career center. And we kind of held all that together. Thankfully, it's thrived. And it's much bigger now. After working there, I actually went over to the College of Natural Science and I worked with the Health Professions Advising Center actually built so it was a brand new office and I got to go in and just create it and we just help students that are interested in going into health careers. So anything having to do with from being a doctor, a nurse practitioner, any of those types of graduate programs, but it was really fun for me because it kind of brought together my interest because my undergrads in biology, and then my Masters and PhD are both in counseling, so I was able, like I was able to help people in the sciences, so I always had a lot of fun doing that. After being there for a few years, I did that job. And then I also became the director of student success for the College of Natural Sciences. So I handled academic grievances or when students were having, you know, need some help and advocacy with professors, things like that. And then, a couple years ago, I think it was two years ago now, I came over in the UGS family. I started out as Assistant Dean, and I remember telling myself, This is good. This is the highest I want to go on my career right here. And then a year later, I got promoted to associate dean and I was like, No, okay, really, this is good. This is high. Now. I'm the dean and Interim Dean, a VP for undergraduate studies, which I have to say I'm thankful and really lucky, because I've worked with some amazing people on campus, but I think the people in undergraduate studies have more heart than anyone, so I cannot do the work I do without all of you. And as we look into again, we're starting fall and semester. You know, Matt and I have been used to this quarter,

quarter, quarter advising now. We're going to go into fall semester. So with Fall term being mostly virtual, the virtual environment, the exception to few labs in art theater classes going to be on campus. What advice can you give new students sharing out at? Starting out? Sorry, starting out at CSUSB? And also continuing students?

Um, yeah, it's a rough time. So not only are like you said, we're converting, and we're remote, so it's really the craziest of all worlds. But I think the best advice I could give is just to be patient patient with the process. It's new for everybody. And then it's doubly new because of the virtual. As you mentioned, we have only about 1% of our classes will be in person. So you know, that's not a lot. So pretty much I'm guessing most of your schedules will be online. We do have some awesome stuff that's been happening over the summer where faculty have been going to different conferences and learning communities to learn how to better teach on line. But you know, we're all doing the best we can right now, which is why I say Be patient. And I think the other pieces don't give up. But I think that you might have a rough semester and you might have a great semester, but either way you will make it through and this won't be the way that it is forever. Especially if you're a first time freshmen. I know that it's it's a letdown, like it's hard, because you may have thought your college experience will be one thing. And now here we are. So I think that's difficult. I actually have a nephew that graduated from high school this year, and he's going into college. And I know for him, it's been tough because of that. So it just it's so different than what you picture but be patient. No, it's not forever, just temporary and know that you'll get through and at the end of the day, you'll get the classes you need to be able to be on your way to get your bachelor's and have this huge, great life ahead of you and it'll all seem like a blip at the end of the day.

And speaking of advice, so you have your advice for students. Sometimes we want to think about also the parents as well. So do you have any advice that you would give parents for our CSUSB students how they might be able to support their children that are attending Cal State in this virtual environment.

Yeah, really. So I think anytime you're a parent or you have a college student in general, the number one thing is just to try and understand it's a huge transition. And even though it's a very positive thing, it's hard. You know, it's different than anything that's happened in the past, especially if you're a brand new student. So being there and just supporting your student emotionally letting them know that it'll be okay, like I'm here for you. The one thing that I think is hugely different right now with a virtual environment is that people need a space, they need a quiet space that have to be able to really focus and study and that's hard. It's hard with bustling households. But anything you can do to provide that even if it's only for an hour or two a day is fantastic. And the other pieces, you know, you should feel good, like congratulate yourself because even though we're in the middle of a global pandemic, and even though there's you know, all sorts of crazy things happening you still have, you know, have the privilege of being the parent of someone that's heading in the college and has made the decision to really better their lives.

Absolutely. Thank you for that. And as we look into the advising structure for first and second year students, can you let us know a little bit more about that? Can you talk about that?

Sure. So this is it's unprecedented. So the first time in our history at CSUSB, we actually have quite a few professional academic advisors. And what that equates to, if you're a student or a parent is meaning that you're going to get a much more tailored direct program plan. So knowing what to take when to take it to be able to graduate in the manner that you want to whether it's to four years or six years or two years if you're a transfer student, but having all these people here to advise, you can really help with that. So one of the things that the university chose to do this year and are pushing this forward into semesters is to make sure that we have a structure that supports students with where they're at, so so for students that are zero to 44 units, you will be seen by our amazing advisors and advising and academic services. They will help to get you started on the GE courses that you need. And then in addition to that, they'll start the pattern of what you need for prereqs and things like that with your major, as well as making sure that you're aware of the the different types of academic regulations, if there's forms you need to fill out all of that kind of stuff. Once you hit 45 units and above, you will then go to your college professional advisors. Now those advisors can still help you with anything in terms of understanding academic rules and petitions. But the other piece that they have is they work more closely with the academic departments. So if you're a biology major, and you go to your professional advisor in the College of Natural Sciences, they work more directly with the people that are teaching you those biology classes. And because of that, they understand more about the sequencing and those pieces. So the hope is that by the time you hit that mark, you have what you need in terms of your basic skills and in terms of your basic GE structure, and you're ready for that next step. Now, the third layer that just sort of permeates over the whole thing is our faculty advisors and faculty are amazing mentors, and especially if you want to do anything that has to do with research, volunteer work, those pieces. So at different points along your journey here, you will be interacting with your faculty. And, you know, of course, like anyone else will have certain faculty that you're closer to than others, and you will find great mentors with that. But really, what we've tried to do is create a whole support network for students so that you have your professional advisors from the moment you get to campus until when you graduate. And I will tell you to most of the time, our advisors are there to cheer you on when you're graduating as well. So we really, really enjoy going through this whole process.

the way I look at it from what you said is that at every step of the way for students, there is going to be some sort of assistance. There's gonna be an advisor, whether it's a advisor in advising and academic services, or a college professional advisor, a faculty member, there's always someone that's going to be able to assist them with any questions and make sure that they guide them down the road to graduation, because ultimately, that's the major goal is to be able to walk across the stage and graduate.

Yeah, and then to add on to that we also have some great colleagues and Student Affairs, we have some wonderful support services, not just social things like clubs and organizations, but also we have other support services or you know, ways that we can help you the other thing that we offer that is your academic advisor can really help with getting you connected with or things like our academics support services, so tutoring, mentoring, peer mentoring services, supplemental instruction, we have all sorts of supports to help you not only know what to take but to be successful in what you're taking so that you can move along your path.

With undergraduate studies, there's us Td 1000 classes. And so some students might search for a class and they might find university studies 1000 class or even a 2000. Class. Can you talk about those classes?

Sure. So our USTD 1000 class, it's newly imagined. So we used to have it in the quarters, but it was a little bit different. It's our freshmen learning community. And so what these are designed to do is they're one unit courses that are voluntary for you to take. But what they're meant to do is explore specialized topics. So they change all the time. But this year, what are offering is a social justice, activism and technology. So I think it folds in really nicely with what we're seeing right now, in the larger scale within not only the US but really around the world in terms of social justice. So the the 1000 classes tend to be that and also infused with that though the Special Topics you'll also learn about some of the basics. skills that you need to be successful in college, as well as exploring different types of majors and careers as they fit within those different topics. Now, the USTD 2000 classes are sophomore success courses. And those are courses that are more specialized. The one that we're offering this year is more geared towards career pathways. So looking at different types of careers that you can explore. And then it will be much more in depth and working you through like the process with career counseling and things like that, too. But again, those shifts, they do change year to year. I'm really excited because this year we have two brand new offerings, and I know they're both going to be really impactful with great instructors. Our social justice activism one, not only do we have some of our CSUSB staff members, but we also have a couple of activists for the community that are going to come in and teach for us as well. So we've been able to put together what they think is a really nice program, but keep your eyes open. We also want to offer these courses in the spring which is new. We've traditionally offered them in the fall. So we're hopeful that we'll be able to

have more offerings like this in the future.

Good. So if a student misses out on getting the class for fall, there's probably a good chance that they'll be able to get that class for the spring. They might hear about it a little bit later, maybe they'll find out from a friend or something, and, and then it's like, Oh, I wish I could take that class. That sounds like something I could really benefit from, but they might have an opportunity in spring.

Absolutely. That's our plan.

And then one of the questions I probably come up is like, it sounds like a great class that something I would want to take, is it baccalaureate level?

It is yes. So you do get college credit for it. Like I said, it's one unit two units for the 2000 class. You can take it multiple times too and what's cool about learning communities as well live, the topics might be the same because it's not a course in the traditional sense. You could take the same class twice and have a very different experience and learn very different things each time to so it's a nice elective units essentially, so you can take it up to three times and we have three elective units. But, and the other kind of pro tip for you out there is it's a one unit course that won't have a ton of work to it. So if you need a unit for financial aid, this is the way to go because it's not gonna be too demanding. And that's the type of advice academic advisors will give you. So that's why you want to talk to them, but it's a good class to kind of get your feet wet on a topic too.

Yeah, and for many majors, a lot of times the general education requirements and the major requirements don't necessarily add up to enough units for graduation, where thereby some of the majors students will still need elective units for graduation. And this could be also a great way to get some of those units for the electives towards graduation. Yep,

absolutely. Awesome. And of course, the question, this question comes up in our advising appointments and during online New Student Orientation will spring 2021 semester be online?

That's that's a billion trillion dollar question right now.

Yeah. And I would like to say, No, I think it'll be in person. But I don't honestly know. Obviously none of us knows what the future holds, because we never thought we'd be at this place to begin with. I do know that it's the official stance of the Cal State right now is that we are definitely remote through December. So we'll find out what happens then. Our campus has been fairly good. Our president has been fairly good about communicating any news that we have. So I'm sure as soon as we know the students, you'll be contacted. There's some new technologies that we're using that actually have been really helpful. And you may have seen these pop up over the summer, but we have push alerts. So one thing you might want to do is download and I'm sure they told you this at orientation, but download the my coyote app because there's some some cool stuff that you can get through there. But the push notifications will tell you things like that if we're going to be remote or in person. I think either way, the best part of it is whether we're online are not is we're getting better at figuring out how to offer classes virtually right now. And again, it's, it won't be forever, we're not going to become a completely online university. So it's just a matter of kind of figuring out where we're at. And being able to kind of be in the moment of not knowing which is difficult, but it's a good life lesson I hear. I like, I like knowing things too, so I'm good with it.

So basically, stay tuned on the spring 2021 semester, what will happen, but Dr. Lesley Davidson Boyd, we really appreciate you being on for the podcast, especially being our first podcast. So thank you so much for joining us. So you gave a lot of great tips. And I wish when I was a student, I had that social justice cost I could take so really jealous for it. I'm glad that our our students now have that opportunity for it. I think it'll be really, in the sense that I'm not doing a cliche, but life changing for them.

Yeah. Thank you so much for having me on. I'm honored. I'm sure, it'll be an awesome podcast.

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