Board: 2-tier tuition is ‘Robin Hood’ plan

Robin Hood was the model for Santa Monica College‘s plan to charge higher tuition for added classes, say members of the very liberal college board. Those who could afford it would pay more, opening up space in budget-priced classes for low-income students.

Low tuition is no bargain if colleges can’t meet student demand, an analyst argues. If community colleges charged enough to fund sufficient classes, students wouldn’t be turning to high-cost for-profit colleges that don’t put students on a wait list.

If not rationing by price, then what?

In the face of protests, California’s Santa Monica College has suspended plans to charge four times more for high-demand classes. But with demand exceeding supply of classroom seats — and no money to hire more instructors — that leaves rationing by wait list, the academic equivalent of Soviet bread lines.

Students pay more at public colleges

Public colleges and universities are relying more on tuition as state and local funding fails to keep up with rising enrollment.

A California community college may charge premium pricing for ‘next-day’ classes. Students could pay as much as $200 a unit to avoid a wait list, more than four times the regular price.

Squeezed out

Nationwide, 37 percent of community college students say they’ve failed to get into a class because it was full this fall; 20 percent can’t get the classes they need to complete a degree or certificate.

A community college dropout in New York City costs $17,700 in wasted financial aid and support for the the college system, according to a new report. Only 28 percent of students complete a degree — associate or bachelor’s — in six years.

Low tuition, long wait lists

California’s community colleges charge the lowest tuition in the nation, but can’t afford to provide enough classes for students.  The Legislature may let colleges charge more for some classes. Why not let colleges charge a sustainable tuition for all classes?  Students are willing to pay more: They’re turning to the much costlier for-profit sector, which has no wait lists.

Also on Community College Spotlight:  Community colleges have the capacity to train workers for rapidly growing “middle-skill jobs,” but too many students fail to complete a credential.

‘Tiger’ kids in community college

Chinese “tiger mothers,” who demand excellence from their children, are superior to Western moms, claims Amy Chua, a Yale law professor with two high-performing daughters.  More tiger children end up at community colleges than the Ivy League, writes a Pasadena Community College professor. And these kids are depressed by their failure to meet their parents’ unreasonable expectations. Some are suicidal.

Also on Community College Spotlight:  Laid-off workers in Iowa are turning to community colleges for retraining, but wait lists are long for programs in health care, welding and other high-demand fields.

Waiting to start, degree inflation

On Community College Spotlight: California students face long waiting lists to get into community college classes, forcing some students to delay college or commute between different campuses to pick up a class here and a class there.

Some 80 percent of new nurses should earn a bachelor’s degree before entering the profession, urges a new report. Nurses with two-year degrees would have to earn a bachelor’s within five years. Community college leaders charge degree inflation: Associate-degree nurses are just as likely to pass the licensing test as nurses with four-year degrees.

No room in the class at many colleges

On Community College Spotlight:  Community colleges are struggling to meet student demand. At some schools, more students are on the wait list than in the class.