By Vic Gerami
GLENDALE, Calif. — Since his appointment in July 2022, Glendale Community College (GCC) President Ryan Cornner has been a staunch ally of the Armenian community. He wrote SB971, a measure that would make higher education more affordable for Artsakh Armenians and other low-income refugees by exempting them from paying the nonresident tuition fee. This California Senate Bill 971 was introduced by State Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank) on Thursday, January 25.
Cornner’s latest project is to support the Armenian-American community and its Armenian students, who comprise about a third of the institution’s student body.
Due to a growing number of regional conflicts worldwide, many individuals seek haven through immigration to the United States, establish residency in California, and get higher education. Ineligibility for financial aid can make the cost of college disproportionately higher and unaffordable.
SB 971 would exempt from the nonresident tuition fee a nonresident, low-income student who resides in a region impacted by war or other regional conflict and registers for lower division courses at a community college. The measure requires the governing boards of community colleges that use this exemption to adopt one uniform policy to determine a student’s residence classification, establish procedures for an appeal and review of the residence classification, and determine whether a student is low-income.
“Part of our mission is to build a sense of belonging within our community and serve all students by creating an educational environment where they can take the next steps toward the future,” said Dr. Ryan Cornner, superintendent and president of GCC. “Glendale has a history supporting recent immigrant communities. In turn, these populations have become cornerstones in our community. SB 971 will allow us to more effectively meet the needs of our community and ensure that we fulfill our mission,” he continued.