Pomona updates work study, student finance policies

A female college student stands holding a sign that reads "Stop firing students" during a sit-in at Pomona College.
Pomona College’s students protested the school’s instructions for students on work-study to “stop working immediately” by staging a sit-in in Alexander Hall April 15. (Kellen Browning • The Student Life)

In the wake of a nearly four hour sit-in at Pomona College’s Alexander Hall last week, the school has announced changes to its work study program and financial policies. Many of the changes seem to be a direct response to some of the demands issued by the protesters at the sit in.

All 58 students on Pomona’s work study program who received an email in March telling them to stop working because they had exceeded their work study stipends “remain eligible to work” and “none have been terminated from their employment,” according to an email to students co-signed by Pomona President G. Gabrielle Starr, Dean of Students Avis Hinkson, treasurer Karen Sisson and financial aid director Robin Thompson.

Pomona is working with students’ supervisors to increase their work allotments.

The college is also decreasing the use of registration holds for balances on students’ accounts. Previously, students with outstanding charges on their accounts were restricted from registering for classes during the pre-registration period.

Now, only students with more than $500 in outstanding charges will be prevented from registering. The students had demanded that the registration limitation policy be scrapped entirely.

Pomona is also eliminating late payment fees for students with less than $500 outstanding on their account and fees to set up payment plans.

Our aim is to provide more pathways for students and families to avoid charges, address challenges early and prevent situations that increase their costs,” the administrators said.

Pomona is holding a student employment workshop at noon May 6, which the protesters also demanded.

The email also stated that Pomona’s financial aid continues to covers physical education courses, and that Pomona will add language referencing student accommodations to a semesterly email about this policy. The protesters had demanded that Pomona fund off-campus physical education courses for students with certain disabilities.

These changes address some of the demands submitted by student protesters during the sit-in. However, there are several demands the email didn’t touch on, such as the Student Health Insurance Program, fellowship compensation, job opportunities for undocumented students and staff confidentiality.

Alezandro Ruvalcaba PO ’21, one of the students involved with the sit-in who provided contact information to TSL, did not respond to requests for comment.

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