Could California college costs increase despite Prop 30?
January 21, 2013
Governor Jerry Brown proposed a budget that includes a nearly $200 million increase in community college funding, yet critics say it could actually make the system more expensive. [LA Times]
In addition to the funding increase from Proposition 30, Brown is proposing a unit cap and incentive based pay as part of a slate of changes for California’s community colleges.
The governor proposed capping the number of state-subsidized units students could take at 90. If the proposal passes, beginning next fall, students will have to pay $190 per unit as opposed to $46 once they exceed 90 units. In the 2009-2010 academic year, nearly 120,000 students had earned at least 90 units.
Many students say that the proposed unit cap would punish those who double major or explore different fields before transferring to a university or finding a job. President of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges Rich Copenhagen told the LA Times he opposes the unit cap, but expects Brown will get his way with it.
“We’re going to work very hard to get rid of this,” Copenhagen, a College of Alameda student, said. “The governor does seem to be interested in pushing through a lot of policy in this budget. He’s in a position to say I got you more money, now you need to make your system better.”
Brown also proposed distributing money to schools based on student completion of courses to provide a financial incentive for success in the classroom. The current structure allocates funds based on student enrollment at each college.
Critics say that the financial incentive could cause colleges to drop challenging courses.
Currently, 85 percent of the 2.4 million students in the state community college system need to take remedial English. Seventy-three percent need to take remedial math.
Brown’s budget also proposes spending $315 million to shift adult education from K-12 to the community college system.
Likewise, Brown has offered the idea of creating a “virtual campus” by making 250 courses available online to students statewide. His budget includes $17 million to increase the number of online classes.