8,000 students on wait lists at De Anza

September 21, 2009 7:15:45 PM PDT
Colleges in California are struggling with the impact of severe budget cuts.

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Monday was the first day of classes at De Anza College in Cupertino and there are 8,000 students there on the waiting list for classes.

According to the president of De Anza, they now have twice as many students on that waiting list than they did last year. Students may have gotten into one or two classes, but they did not get all their choices, so that means many do not have a full load

"Five classes total and I have gone to only one and that's not even the important one," student Fatima Nguien said.

Signs were posted reminding students the cuts in funding are the reason for this year's problems.

"We had to cut 100 sections out of our course offerings, that's about a 5 percent in our course offerings and yet despite that cut we have the same number of students this year," De Anza College President Brian Murphy said.

The classes are packed. Students are sitting on the floor where there are not enough desks.

"I spent like an hour looking for parking; I have one class right now and I can't find some units and I need to be a full-time student," student Patrick Abogado said.

Only full-time students get financial aid; others need a full load to remain on their parent's health insurance plan.

Other community colleges are also experiencing this kind of demand as families are priced out of four-year universities and people who recently lost their jobs are coming back to school.

"I wanted to get into a career where I wouldn't be laid off," student Sabrina Culberson said. Culberson is now majoring in health services.

Even online classes are not an option this time.

"If I am teaching an internet class with 40 students, I can't suddenly increase it to 80, I still have to grade the papers, I still have to give the assignment and I still have to have all the online interaction that students expect," one instructor said.

Every year enrollment at community colleges goes up. Last year, nearly 3 million students attended one of California's 110 community colleges -- the highest enrollment figure in the history of the system.

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