California campuses try to lower college costs with free transit

Transit expenses are one part of the high cost of college that is pushing many low-income students out of the state’s higher education systems. Some campuses have partnered with local transit agencies to reduce or waive all fares for students, but recent efforts to create more partnerships with state funding have failed.

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Meet the Team

Carmen Gonzalez

Carmen Gonzalez, Cal State Long Beach: Carmen Gonzalez is a bilingual reporter and radio host based in Los Angeles, California. They strive to make information easily accessible to the people. Her professional career began in high school as a youth reporter for the hyper-local non-profit publication, Boyle Heights Beat. Since then they have worked for YR Media, KCRW, UCLA Labor Center, and The Corsair. Originally from Mexico, she is in her junior year at Long Beach State majoring in journalism.

Itzel Luna

Itzel Luna, Stanford: Itzel Luna is a sophomore at Stanford University, planning to pursue a degree in Public Policy with a minor in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. She works as the University Desk Editor and Fellowship Coordinator for her university’s student-run paper, The Stanford Daily. She has also previously interned for the LA Times as a Breaking News reporter and KTLA, a Los Angeles based newscast. Originally from the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, she is a child of Mexican immigrants. Her coverage largely revolves around activism, especially within marginalized communities.

Andrea Madison

Andrea Madison, Diablo Valley College: Andrea Madison is a student at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, CA, currently working towards finishing her Associate Degree for Transfer. She plans to apply to St. Mary’s College in Moraga, CA upon completion of her degree. Madison has been on the staff of DVC’s newspaper, The Inquirer, since Spring 2021, and is currently in her second consecutive semester as the publication’s editor-in-chief. She has covered issues facing DVC students and the surrounding community, including the recent administrative leave and subsequent resignation of the Contra Costa Community College District’s (4CD) chancellor, as well as campus events and culture. Placing second in the Profile Feature Story category for a Journalism Association of Community Colleges 2021 NorCal Publication Award for her work with The Inquirer, Madison has also received two awards from the California College Media Association- Second place for Best Breaking News Story and third place for best news series; both awards were for her coverage of 4CD’s recent issues with the chancellor. Madison has been a staff writer for The Orinda News in Orinda, CA for a year, covering topics from pandemic effects upon local schools to local elections, also taking photographs for her articles when needed. The monthly Orinda News has a circulation of 10,000. Hailing from the small rural town of Willits in Northern California, Madison currently resides in Contra Costa County in the SF Bay Area. Journalism has been an interest and passion of hers for as long as she can remember.

Felicia Mello

Felicia Mello, Editor: Felicia Mello edits CalMatters’ College Journalism Network, a collaboration with student journalists across California to cover higher education from the ground up. Her reporting on affordability, equity and innovation at California colleges and universities has earned awards from the California News Publishers Association and the Society for Professional Journalists Northern California chapter. She was a finalist for the Education Writers Association’s beat reporting prize in 2018. Felicia came to CalMatters from Las Vegas, where she built the digital team at Vegas Seven magazine and served as the Nevada reporter for the Center for Public Integrity’s nationwide investigation of transparency in state governments. She has also contributed stories to The Washington Post, The Nation, NPR and CNN’s Parts Unknown, among others. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley.

Matthew Reagan

Matthew Reagan, Program Manager: Matthew Reagan is the Program Manager for CalMatters College Journalism Network, a collaboration between CalMatters and student journalists from across the state to produce highquality, student centered coverage of higher education in California. Reagan was a CJN Fellow and higher education intern for CalMatters. He covered the pandemic’s impact on higher education policy and the 2021 California recall election. Reagan is a graduate of Occidental College where he studied Politics and History. Previously, Reagan worked at The Occidental as Editor-In-Chief as well as the founding editor of the Northeast LA Neighborhood Reporting Partnership with the Boulevard Sentinel.

Alyssa Story

Alyssa Story, Loyola Marymount University: Alyssa Story is a senior at Loyola Marymount University majoring in film, media and television studies and journalism. She is the former editor-in-chief of The Los Angeles Loyolan, and current president of LMU’s chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. She loves exploring the intersection of pop-culture and politics and is passionate about showing the local impact of national news.

Megan Tagami

Megan Tagami, UCLA: Megan Tagami is a fourth year student studying political science and public affairs at UCLA. She currently serves as content editor for PRIME, Daily Bruin’s quarterly magazine, and has also covered the Features and National News and Higher Education beats. She has formerly interned at the Honolulu Civil Beat, helping to cover K-12 education and other issues.

Oden Taylor

Oden Taylor, Cal Poly Humboldt: Oden Taylor is a junior at Cal Poly Humboldt, majoring in journalism with a news concentration. This is his third semester as a CalMatters Fellow. Taylor covers equity, LGBTQ+ issues, and Title IX in higher education. He aspires to work as an equity reporter covering the intersections between identity, equity and policy in California.

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Felicia Mello edits CalMatters' College Journalism Network, a collaboration with student journalists across California to cover higher education from the ground up. Her reporting on affordability, equity...