Many of us can remember when the price per unit changed to $46. There were some people who were shocked at the change and others who may have been a bit disgusted.
Now, according to a new law in California called AB 955, it seems that community colleges may have the right to raise the price per unit during summer and winter sessions up to $200 for courses that were in high demand during the past two years.
AB955 states that they “may charge students enrolled in an extension course a fee that covers the actual cost of the course and that is based upon the district’s nonresident fee rate for the year the course is offered.”
This pretty much means that the college is allowed to charge the full amount of a class during a summer or winter session, even if they are shorter than the regular sessions.
Even though this law may have passed on the Assembly Floor last Tuesday, it seems there are still a few things to be worked out it seems. A pilot program that Chabot-Las Positas is not listed on is set to start taking place with a few select community colleges come January 2014, with more being added by July 1, 2014.
The creation of this bill by Assemblymember Das Williams was because there had been such a cut in the funding for education that even with the passing of Proposition 30, schools still could not fully recover from the loss. It would also help free up space for other students during the regular sessions to allow them to get in and out of college faster.
This may make some people wonder about what a community college is about. Community colleges are the short and less expensive, compared to a four year college, way of starting to get a degree. So why would raising the price of the units be a good thing when many of the students who are currently attending a community college are there for the sole reason of it being less expensive?
Since the classes that would be offered with the higher price per unit would be the classes that many people would need to take in order to receive some type of certificate that would help them earn a higher wage in the future, it is unfortunate for those who are not financially well off. That is where another problem may arise.
Many are arguing that the passing of this bill is going to create a two-tier system, which means that there will be the one tier of people who can afford the classes and another tier of people who cannot or can just barely afford the classes. So the students who can afford the classes will be able to get in and out much faster than those who are on the other tier.
Going back a year, this is similar to the plan that Santa Monica College was trying to work out. According to the LA Times the plan was to “create a nonprofit foundation to offer such in-demand classes as English and math at a cost of about $200 per unit. Currently, fees are $36 per unit, set by the Legislature for California community college students. That fee will rise to $46 this summer.”
Once again the reasoning behind the creation of the plan was the lack of funds due to budget cuts.
Chabot- Las Positas may not currently be in any danger for we are not on the list for the six community colleges that are in the pilot. Associated Students of the Las Positas College Student Trustee Cherry Bogue also feels the same way.
“So after looking further into AB955, I have discovered that it is only for six community college districts in southern California that petitioned the state to raise their summer fees,” Bogue said. “This makes it a moot point for us here at LPC and Chabot because we are not in the same budget crisis that was facing those six districts.”
The only catch to all of this is that if all the data proves that it was a success then, by the end of the pilot program, the rest of the community colleges in California may be eligible to raise their prices.