Californians Often Shut Out of Community College Classes

In California, community college students are shut out of required courses about twice as often as in other states.

Students in California community colleges are twice as likely to get shut out of needed courses than in other states, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. While only 28% of students outside of California reported a problem signing up for classes they needed, a national survey found that 47% of California students had the same issue.

The survey, conducted by the Pearson Foundation, found that the nation’s largest community college system struggled to accommodate its 2.7 million students at 112 campuses due to severe class overcrowding. This is not news to the Chancellor of the Community College System Jack Scott who warns that the situation will only get worse next year when the state will cut $290 million from the system’s $9 billion allocation. An additional $129 million will be cut the following year.

Speaking to the Assembly’s budget subcommittee, Scott estimated that about 140,000 students were locked out of required classes last year:

“Many, many students come to us and can’t find the classes they need…We’re as popular as we’ve ever been, so it’s the best of times, and the worst of times.”

With a price of only $26 per unit – due to go up to $36 next year – CCCS offers the lowest tuition rates in the nation, which might be contributing to its popularity. According to the Chronicle, however, nearly 35% of students who drop out annually list “financial pressures” as their reason why.

“If you have to worry about putting dinner on the table versus going to class, it’s a pretty easy decision,” said Alex Pader, president of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, who is enrolled at both American River community college in Sacramento and at Sacramento State University.

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March 30th, 2011

Staff Reporter

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