The Daily Aztec

Community colleges hit 20-year low

Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times/MCT

Don Bartletti

Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times/MCT

by Jamie Kay Wilde

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California community college enrollment has reached a 20-year low, according to a report by the Public Policy Institute of California.

$1.5 billion has been cut from community colleges since 2007-08 which have resulted in classes being cut, staff reductions and larger class sizes.

San Diego has been feeling the effects of budget cuts as well.

Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times/MCT

Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times/MCT

“San Diego community colleges cut more than 2,600 class sections, Grossmont-Cuyamaca colleges lost 1,600 classes and Palomar College halved its summer offerings,” KPBS reported.

According to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, roughly half of CSU graduates were California community college transfers.

Students who attend community colleges can save money on undergraduate classes. However, the price of a community college is increasing. In the past five years, the cost per unit increased by 130 percent, according to the Chancellor’s Office website.

English senior Sarah Villegas transferred from San Diego City College to San Diego State.

“First of all, they’re difficult to get into. Second of all, financial aid at community colleges is not that great. It’s dependent on academics and you pretty much have to work if you’re in community college,” Villegas said. “You can’t take as many classes as you want and also there’s colleges, like Southwestern, that had so much trouble that they had to cut half of their classes, like literally half of their English courses were cut.”

The number of courses offered during the academic year dropped by 21 percent, while summer course offerings dropped nearly 60 percent, according to the PPIC.

But the future for community colleges may not be completely bleak.

With the passage of Proposition 30 in November, California voters demonstrated their concern for higher education. Proposition 30 will direct $210 million in additional funding to community colleges this year and is expected to help increase enrollment and student success.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2013-14 state budget proposal will allocate $315.7 million to transfer adult education programs from K-12 schools to California community colleges, according to the Chancellor’s Office website. In addition, the website reports approximately 3,300 classes was added to the system this spring semester.

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