Community colleges raise tuition due to trigger cuts

December 14, 2011 8:56:39 PM PST
The impact of those so-called budget trigger cuts will hit the state's community colleges pretty hard. Just a day after the governor announced the cuts, a plan to create new funding was rolled out. It's based on an old idea: Charge students more.

To offset a $100 million mid-year budget cut from the state, community college tuition is going up $10 a unit to $46 a unit in May 2012. Taking 15 units will cost $150 more a semester.

What hurts even more is students just saw their tuition go up $10 a unit this fall semester.

The news leaves students wondering how they're going to come up with the money.

"I have to see what I can do; my parents have stepped in more than they used to, which I hate," Joshua Chadwick said. "I'm almost 26. I hate having to go to my parents for money. It's ridiculous."

The latest $10 fee hike, though, only offsets one-third of the $100 million cut.

Chancellor Jack Scott says many campuses will lose faculty and offer fewer classes.

Aundreia Shappelle says community college is now a 4-5 year plan.

"The first day of class we have people sitting on the floors, waiting in the halls, praying to get into classes and half of us don't get in, so you have to push your graduation date even further now," Aundreia Shappelle said.

But the Brown administration points out while California will lose its distinction as the cheapest community college system in the country, it's still a deal.

"Of the 50 states, even with this $10 increase, we will be No. 49," California Finance Department spokesperson H.D. Palmer said. "Only the state of New Mexico will be lower than California."

Still, some CSU transfer students say community college need to be cheap in order to be able to attend a four-year college.

"I've only been at Sac State for two years; I have $20,000 in student loans, so had that been twice that, there's no way I could have gone without community college," Nora Walker said.

Fifty-six percent of low income community college students received tuition waivers last year. The chancellor's office predicts that could jump to as much as 70 percent with the $10 fee increase.


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