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Community college students struggle to get classes

September 21, 2010 7:36:53 PM PDT
Students at two South Bay community colleges are finding that getting into classes is particularly challenging this fall. Budget cuts have eliminated many core classes.

"It's been a hassle all day," one student said. "I've been here since eight this morning trying to get into one math class and I am 0-for-3 so far."

Classes started at Foothill College Monday but Tuesday more students were in line trying to get into a class than were actually attending class.

Foothill and De Anza colleges lost $20 million in state funding this year. The cut in their budgets has resulted in a cut in some 500 classes.

"We have about 10,300 students on wait lists, as I am talking to you right now; that represents about 7,000 students because some maybe listed on multiple lists; those are students who very badly need courses we cannot offer them," De Anza President Brian Murphy said.

Freshman Antonia Zavola is one of those on a wait list. She is waitlisted for a math class -- a core subject she needs to take now.

"I'm lucky because I am on the wait list as No. 1 but there are teachers that just said that if you are wait listed you are not going to get in," Zavola said.

Demand for community colleges is at an all time high not only for young students, but also for older unemployed workers going back to school to update their resumes.

"Last year we cut our schedule by 7 percent, this year we've basically laid flat on that; we try and admit as many students as we can but there is great demand and limited resources," Foothill spokesperson Kurt Hueg said.

Resources are so limited that the board of trustees is asking voters in the district for help. They have placed measure "E," a $69 parcel tax, on the November ballot.

Students here will have until Friday to try and get into their classes. If they cannot get in they will have to wait until January. Registration for next quarter begins in November.

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