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The Budget Crisis Has Dramatically Reduced Access to Colleges

Written By Julianna Benson on Thursday, March 28, 2013 | 3:21 AM

The Budget Crisis Has Dramatically Reduced Access to Colleges
The budget Crisis Has Dramatically Reduced Access to Colleges - The budget crisis has dramatically

In a study released this week, the PPIC says the state cut $1.5 billion from community college budgets from 2007 to 2012, resulting in the loss of one in five courses. That has left an estimated 600,000 students peering through closed classroom doors..

What's interesting is who these students are: primarily, the PPIC says, those of lower ability.
That makes sense. The most committed, savvy students can still navigate a shrunken system. Indeed, completion and transfer rates have gone up, and students who have enrolled most recently have the most improved success rates. This is probably the result of narrowing the student population to the best prepared. Many current students would have gone to the University of California and California State University in better times (see HERE).

But California can't afford to just educate the best and brightest. It's a matter of volume. The economy demands that far more people have some education beyond high school, whether it's training in a trade or in academic skills needed for entry-level jobs. High school graduates who still lack basic skills need to acquire them. Low-wage workers who want to move up the economic ladder need to be able to do so.

reduced access to the state's 112 community colleges. Yet as the economy recovers, California will need a workforce with the skills to help businesses and communities thrive -- and community colleges are crucial to that struggle.
California has confirmed what observers already knew: The budget crisis has dramatically reduced access to the state's 112 community colleges. Yet as the economy recovers, California will need a workforce with the skills to help businesses and communities thrive -- and community colleges are crucial to that struggle.

Proposition 30 and the improving economy will mean some new money to restore counselors and courses, but not enough. Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed reforms, including more online courses and a limit on how many state-subsidized units a student can take; that would free up space for lower-skilled first-time students.
Parcel taxes, the PPIC suggests, may be an option (see HERE). Student fees, at $46 a unit, are less than half the national average; they could go up again without affecting access because fees are waived for poor students. The state needs a combination of strategies, and more of them.
California has to keep its promise of higher education for all --not just for the sake of individuals but for its economic survival.
Source : The San Jose Mercury News
Description: The Budget Crisis Has Dramatically Reduced Access to Colleges
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