Returning Student FAQs


Finance Questions

Can I Afford to Go to College?

To get an idea of how much it will cost to attain your degree or certificate look at the typical college costs, identify the dollar amount for each, and total out the entire cost for a semester.  Typical cost categories are tuition, course/program/material fees, books/supplies, personal needs, and transportation.  LBCC provides a Net Price Calculator that will help you estimate your costs of attending.

Can I Attend College Part-time and Get Financial Aid? 

There is no minimum course load; you can register for as many or as few classes as you like. Part-time students are also available for financial aid (however, the amount awarded depends upon the number of units being taken.)  You can also research and apply for scholarships through the Scholarship Office.

Should I Apply for Financial Aid?

Yes, you should! Never assume you don’t qualify for financial aid. Many adult students believe they don’t qualify and miss out on many sources of aid, including grants and low interest loans that are offered regardless of grade point average, financial need, or credit history. Most federal and state aid programs don’t have age limits, although some scholarships might. For financial aid based on low income, all that is necessary is to demonstrate financial need, and some of the most eligible students are single parents. Also, it isn’t necessary to be admitted to LBCC before you can apply for financial aid. Submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form as soon as possible after January 1 (don’t wait until you complete your tax return, but use estimates of income.) Any errors can be corrected later, and California needs to receive the FAFSA by March 1 to qualify for state aid.

How Can I Reduce the Cost of Textbooks?

Methods to reduce costs include buying/renting used books from the Viking Bookstore, purchasing/swapping textbooks online, downloading free or viewing digital textbooks, checking the textbook out from the college library, and asking your instructor or professor if you can substitute an older edition of the book or one without any bundled additions, (such as CDs or workbooks).

Where Can I Pay My Fees?

You can pay your fees online with a MasterCard, Discover, or Visa credit card (you will need your login, student ID, and password) through your Viking Student System account or in person at the Cashier’s Office that is located at either campus.

Academic Questions

Do I Really Need a College Degree? 

That would depend on personal career goals, but in general the higher the education, the higher the salary, and the better the career options and security.  Many adults find they need a college degree to enter their career of choice or for increased earning potential or advancement. Others are in career transition or find themselves back in the workforce because of divorce or economic conditions. With advancing technology and changing economic and employment conditions, many adults are experiencing an increased demand to develop or update their knowledge and skills.

What is the G.E.D.? 

The G.E.D., or General Education Development Test, certifies that the student has attained high school-level academic skills. LBCC can assist you in earning your G.E.D through the Basic Adult Education course.

Where Can I Find Information About Careers Related to My Major? 

Visit the Career and Job Services Center. It will help you find careers related to your chosen major and can supply employment statistics and salary projections for your selected field of study.  

The college also provides a helpful guide to critical information about certificates available at Long Beach City College.  Called Gainful Employment, here you will find a summary of 18-unit or higher certificates and their costs and earning potential.  One of the reasons this information is important is that for a student to be eligible for Federal Student Aid he or she MUST be enrolled in an educational program that leads to an associate’s degree, or prepares a student for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.

What if I Had a Low GPA in High School/College? 

LBCC mandates a placement test. This assessment will identify your Reading, English, and Math skill levels so that you can enroll in the appropriate courses.  An orientation to the college is also required and can be done online.

Some students ask if they can begin again with a “clean slate.” Most colleges will require a record of previous coursework. If the student does not provide it, this will usually becomes known later (often through the financial aid system) and a student may be dismissed for academic dishonesty.

My Skills are a Little Rusty. Where Can I Get Help?

Many adults who have been out of college for some time feel they need a refresher in certain subject areas and with study skills. LBCC offers Success Centers, Learning & Academic Resources, and Tutoring to help you assess your abilities, and also offers remedial programs that enhance your skills to help you succeed. Many of these programs are available on-campus or online.

How Do I Calculate My Grade Point Average (GPA)? 

Your grade point average (GPA) is calculated by dividing the total amount of grade points earned by the total amount of credit hours/units attempted. (For example: A=4 grade points; B=3 grade points; C=2 grade points; D=1 grade point.) For a handy online tool to find your current and cumulative GPA, check out our GPA Calculator.

Why is College Accreditation Important? 

Accreditation is a voluntary, independent review of educational programs to determine that your college education is of uniform and sound quality. Being awarded accreditation ensures that LBCC has been evaluated and that it met set standards of quality determined by the accrediting organization granting the accreditation. LBCC is a fully accredited institution.  You can view all of this information on the college’s accreditation website.

Other Questions

How Many Courses/Credit Hours Should I Take a Semester?

A full-time college course load is generally 12 credit hours/units a semester, though some students take up to 18 credit hours/units. Part-time study is generally 1 to 11 credit hours/units. Students are advised to study independently three hours a week for each credit hour/unit.Study time MUST be calculated into your overall load.  When you first begin it is a good idea to attend only part-time to determine if college is what you really want without committing a lot of time and expense.  The number one cause of failure for adults returning to college is taking on too much and becoming overwhelmed with the responsibilities of family, college, and work. Consider taking only one to two classes to start to give yourself time to refresh your study skills and get used to being in a classroom environment.

In regards to the number of credit hours/units to take when working, these guidelines may be helpful:

Number of Work Hours Per Week

Credit Hours Per Semester

Less than 20 hours

20 6-12
30 3-9
40 3-6

What About Child Care? 

Because of the rising need for child care services on college campuses, LBCC offers child care facilities at lower rates and at both campuses.  There are some requirements for entrance and enrollment.  The emphasis of this program is to provide services that enhance the quality of life for children, families, and students.

What About Parking?

You can purchase a parking permit online through the pay fees function in your Viking Student System or at the Cashiers Office. The Student/Day parking permit is required to be visible on vehicle at all times. Kiosks that deliver daily parking permits are located at various locations in parking lots at both campuses. Please observe all signs in all lots. Students will be ticketed if they park in a staff space, meter, or other restricted parking area without authorization.

How Can I Get Between Both Campuses?

LBCC provides a shuttle service between the two campuses.  This service runs on a regular schedule during the fall and spring semesters.  A regular route of scheduled runs on the ½ hour transports students in roomy, air-conditioned vans. 

The shuttle schedule can be found on the college’s student home page.  Look under “Campus Life” and click “Free Campus-to-Campus Shuttle Service Schedule”.