Good and bad news for students looking to transition to a four-year college from a community college in California.
Good news first. The New York Times reported that U.C. Board of Regents voted to increase the number of transfers from comm. colleges to University of California schools in January--and we saw the results this year. Of the nine colleges in the UC system, all but UCLA reported increases in the number of acceptance offers to transfer students. Although the UC system has had to cut acceptances overall, the schools are committed to encouraging California students to remain in state, and taking advantage of the “strong applicant pools" coming from its community colleges.
Now for the bad news. If you're considering a California community college (CCC), your fees could jump by up to 30 percent. On Tuesday, a legislative budget committee voted to increase fees in order to deal with the now-fairly well-known state budget deficit. Previously, CCCs had some of the lowest charges per class of any two-year college, at $20. Although, as of today, the cost for each individual course will only go up about $6, the Legislative Analyst's Office has proposed tripling the cost per class.
Given the state's poor fiscal outlook, it is almost certain that the Legislature will need to reduce state spending, including funding for CCC, from the levels it had anticipated with the February budget package. (In fact, the Governor's May Revision proposes to reduce CCC spending by almost $700 million in 2009–10.) If this is the case, General Fund support for CCC will drop irrespective of fee levels. By increasing enrollment fees, the Legislature could fully or partially backfill the lost General Fund monies with fee revenues--thereby minimizing the impact on programs and services. Thus, community colleges would benefit from a fee increase to the extent that it resulted in more total resources for CCC than would have been available without a fee increase. For this reason, we believe that any revenues generated by a fee increase would supplement (not supplant) the level of support the state is able to provide.
According to the Legislative Analyst's Office, "needy students" would not be affected by the fee increase, as they will be eligible for the Board of Governor's fee waiver program. Moreover, students who do not qualify for the fee waiver are still eligible for federal financial aid.
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