California: Low fees, waivers starve colleges

Californians pay only $1,380 a year to attend community college — less than half the national average — and at least 40 percent pay nothing. The board may limit fee waivers by requiring a C average.

You don’t get what you don’t pay for. Raising fees and limiting waivers would enable colleges to add high-demand courses and cut wait lists.

Summer classes are back in California

Summer is study time once again at California community colleges. Thanks to new funding, two-thirds of colleges have added classes to avoid bottlenecks and reduce wait lists.

Classes are cheap, but you can’t get in

Charging more for community college extension courses during summer and winter breaks is a necessary stopgap, editorializes the Los Angeles Times. While California is starting to restore funding to higher education, it will be years before the state’s community colleges can offer enough courses to meet demand.

Students are having trouble transferring in to the California State University system. San Jose State’s popular animation program accepts only 12 percent of transfers: Students need a 3.85 grade-point average to get in.

Enrollment falls at California community colleges

California’s community colleges have cut as much as 20 percent of courses since 2008, driving enrollment to its lowest point in two decades, concludes a new report.  Enrollment fell from 2.9 million students in 2008-09 to 2.4 million students in 2011-12.

Encouraging wait-listed students to take online courses is a “massively bad idea,” writes a community college professor. Poorly prepared students can’t handle MOOCs.

No room in class? Earn credits online

California college students could bypass wait lists and earn credits online under a bill introduced by a Democratic legislative leader. State colleges and universities would be required to accept credits from faculty-approved online courses for about 50 high-demand, lower-level classes with long wait lists.

Nearly two-thirds of community college students place into remedial math. Half of students in Statway — Carnegie’s intensive, yearlong developmental math pilot  –passed a college statistics course in the second semester. By contrast, only 5.9 percent of non-Statway remedial students at the same community colleges earned college math credit in their first year; that rose to 15.1 percent in two years.

State funding cuts fuel for-profit growth

With state funding often failing to keep up with enrollment growth, many community colleges have wait-listed would-be students rather than raising tuition, concludes a U.S. Treasury report. That’s pushed students to for-profit colleges, which charge much more but provide the classes students need.

College enrollment dips

College enrollment declined slightly in 2011, the first drop in 15 years.

California’s long wait lists may be driving the drop in community college enrollment:  Thousands of students are taking one class per semester — and not always the right class.

California: 470,000 on college wait lists

More than 470,000 California community college students are on wait lists to get into the classes they need as the fall semester starts. Colleges will cut more classes in January, if voters reject a tax hike on the November ballot.

Those who make it to an associate degree may discover there’s no space for them at state universities.

Charter wait lists grow

Some 610,000 students were on charter school wait lists this school year, according to a survey by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. That’s up from 420,000 two years ago. Adding enough charter school seats to meet the demand would grow the sector by 30 percent.

The high cost of low tuition

Community college students pay a high cost for low tuition. Some are going to for-profit colleges which charge much more but don’t put would-be students on wait lists.