By Brenda Servin |Staff Writer|
Community colleges will be able to increase the tuition of high-demand classes now that Assembly Bill 955 was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown.
The two-tier system will be used to aid community colleges with their budget crisis.
According to The Huffington Post, “Budget cuts have put California Community College enrollments at a 20-year low, with an estimated 600,000 students losing access to education because of slashes to courses and instructors.”
With this new pilot program, only students who are able to afford the increased class rates will be able to get the high-demand classes, such as prerequisite courses, leaving those students unable to afford the increased tuition to wait longer to graduate.
The regular cost per-unit is $46, but according to the Los Angeles Times, the pilot program will allow “colleges to charge all students non-resident tuition — as much as $200 per unit.”
The bill will allow six community colleges to experiment the two-tier pricing system during their summer and winter terms.
The six eligible community colleges in this pilot program include: College of the Canyons, Crafton Hills College, Long Beach City College, Oxnard College, Pasadena City College and Solano Community College.
Long Beach City College specifically sought the tuition increase for high-demand classes.
Jeff Kellogg, president of the Long Beach City College District board, believes that with the two-tier program in place, schools will obtain the necessary revenue to offer courses that they wouldn’t be able to afford without the tuition increase.
Despite the attempt by the college students to stop the legislation through a statewide petition and video campaign, AB 955 was signed a law on Oct. 10, 2013.
The trial run of the two-tier pilot program will end in 2018.
The first institution to try the program was Santa Monica College (SMC) in March 2012.
SMC tried to increase the regular cost from $46 per unit to $180 per unit, but after an incident in which students who were protesting were pepper sprayed in April 2012, the tuition increase was dismissed.
CSUSB students will not be affected by AB 955, which only applies to eligible community colleges.
However the arrival of students coming from community colleges may decrease due to the added cost and pressure of receiving their associate degrees.
“I think it’s ridiculous community colleges are suppose to be cheap to make it easier for students,” said student, Jessica Mejia.
“Students who are not able to afford to go to a Cal State or a UC unfortuantely are at a disadvantage,” said Mejia.
Currently, CSUSB does not charge more for high-demand classes and will continue not too, unless there is a tuition increase in the whole Cal State University (CSU) system.
“Tuition issues are central to the CSU, and so when there are tuition increases, those happen throughout the 23-campus system,” stated Associate Vice President of Public Affairs, Sid Robinson. “CSU does not charge more for high-demand classes.”
CSU system’s tuition operates completely different than California community colleges. In order for this tuition increase change to apply to CSUSB, all CSU colleges would have to agree to the change.