Financial cutbacks at community colleges in California cause students to scramble for classes
Whittier Daily News
Gil Bozigian, 19, is hoping to capitalize on a fellow student's misfortune in order to secure a class - any class - at Mount San Antonio College this fall.
Bozigian, a 2010 Baldwin Park High School graduate, has so far been unable to register for core classes in English or mathematics because student demand is greater than class supply. So, he's going to try to register again on Friday at 12:01 a.m., the minute after student fees come due. Students who miss fee payments lose all their classes, potentially opening up seats for others.
Thousands of community college students in the San Gabriel Valley are being squeezed by state budget cuts and growing student demand. Three of the four local community colleges have tried to absorb a $400 million statewide community college funding slice by eliminating fall class sections, laying off adjunct faculty members and shoehorning more students into each classroom. This comes on top of growing demand from jobless, older students flocking to community colleges for retraining. Only Rio Hondo College has not cut classes further this fall.
"It is basically a free for all," said Bozigian, describing the hit-and-miss nature of class registration at Mt. SAC in Walnut, the largest of the 112 community colleges in the state with about 69,000 students.
Bozigian is not unique. The college's Facebook page is filled with student comments about getting shut out of classes. One student posted he was second on the waiting list for a math class he needs in order to graduate but was unexpectedly removed. He wrote: "Someone drop Math71 for me, please! I promise to love you forever. Lol"