Could California college costs increase despite Prop 30?

January 21, 2013

Gov. Jerry BrownGovernor 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.


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

As a taxpayer I pay for CC improvements, and the opportunity to take occasional classes at cc’s is the

only tangible benefit I get from the system. If I no longer have that i don’t want to pay for the CC’s capital improvements, which are all taxed at the local level. Let the students who get the tuition benefits pay for those improvements, or go to the state.

I would have to say from my experience, the cost of an education includes the time away from the job market. Today’s expense in higher learning may be a bad investment for most. When you consider birth right employment (nepotism), only the naturally gifted few precipitate to the top leaving nothing for the middle of the road scholar. I’ve enjoyed a good life by learning to do as much as I can with who I am and never feeling lesser for it. Acadamia is a good place to visit.

How is it that higher education so often escapes scrutiny for it’s out of control costs? It always amazes me how any news media’s critiquing of said higher cost consistently misses the mark. Too many outrages and unrealistic promises and guarantees were made to too many groups of Californians and now the bill is over due. For all of the currant and future students of CA higher education and their family’s that may have voted for the status quot in the last election need to realize that they voted against their own best interest.

Because they have monopoly privileges. That’s life in a socialist state. Get the government out of the education business and this issue will disappear into think air.