Sunday, April 26, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

College savings, accreditation focus of state legislation

By
From page A3 | February 23, 2014 |

By Nanette Asimov
A pair of higher education bills — one to stimulate college savings and the other to radically change the way community colleges are accredited in California — were introduced this week by Bay Area lawmakers.

State law currently requires California’s 112 community colleges to be accredited by the private Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, one of six such agencies nationwide that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

But the commission has run afoul of faculty and other advocates for its crackdown on City College of San Francisco, the state’s largest school. Three groups have sued the commission, and a judge has barred it from revoking City College’s accreditation until a trial determines whether the school was evaluated legally. The process has also highlighted the fact that the fate of public colleges rests with a private agency doing business behind closed doors.

Now, Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, has introduced AB 1942 to let college districts choose their own accrediting agency. Accrediting decisions – including appeals, which now go before the same commission that issued the negative verdict – would all be conducted in public.

Faculty and other critics are hailing the bill. Yet questions remain about how it would work.

Who would accredit the colleges? Would other agencies across the country be willing or able to take on the additional work of overseeing so many community colleges in a distant state? Those agencies are private, too. Why would they agree to become public agencies and take on extra work with no additional funding?

Aides to Bonta had no answers but said the state’s Board of Governors for community colleges could serve as an accreditor, or authorize new agencies to do the work.

“Looking for the most lenient accrediting commission would not be beneficial for any community college,” said Scott Lay, who heads the Community College League of California, which represents the interests of the state’s 72 college districts. “I would hate to see a shopping effort for the lowest common denominator.”

The issue is complicated, acknowledged Professor John Levin of UC Riverside, an education researcher who heads the California Community College Collaborative.

But he said the current system is so riddled with problems — including a lack of transparency, as well as high-stakes decisions that often confuse the colleges that are left to pick up the pieces — that reform is needed.

“So I applaud the principle” of the new bill, he said.

A second bill, AB 1956 by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, would give families an additional financial incentive to sock away money for their children’s college education through ScholarShare, California’s version of the federal 529 college savings plan.

The plan already lets families set aside tax-free money for college.

The new bill would create a state tax credit equal to 20 percent of the money families contribute each year to the college savings plan. The tax credit would be capped at $500 a year.

The bill is estimated to cost the state up to $25 million a year. But Bonilla and Bill Lockyer, the state treasurer, say the state would ultimately benefit.

“It’s not an outright loss, but an investment,” Bonilla said, noting that Lockyer’s office projects that the bill would decrease student debt by $600 million over 20 years.

“The burden of debt is an enormous strain on society,” Bonilla said. “This type of investment begins to pay off for families.”

— Reach Nanette Asimov at [email protected]

Comments

comments

San Francisco Chronicle

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
     
    Davis team wins world robotics championship

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Nepal quake death toll exceeds 1,800

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    At the Pond: Plenty of pleasures in our bioregion

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Pioneering organic chef presents her memoir Monday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Suspect in UCD assault arrested

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

    Dog park marks anniversary with cleanup

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Rail-safety bill passes Senate committee

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Free Family Bike Clinic set Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Watch them in action

    By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5

    Stocks rise on tech earnings; Nasdaq adds to record

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

     
    Dodd speaks as part of public policy series

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    We did it (together)!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

     
    $2.72 million judgment ordered against Dollar Tree Stores

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    UCD hosts bike auction Saturday, May 2

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Fly Fishers to hear about advanced streamer tactics on Tuesday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Bicycle activist will speak Monday at Hall of Fame

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

     
    Study questions accuracy of tumor gene mapping

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    New ways of giving locally and beyond

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B6

     
    Mayor’s Corner: A spirit of renewal permeates Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

    More work to do for a safe Picnic Day

    By Our View | From Page: A12

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

    Poker proceeds help youths

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

     
    Invest in water of the future

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Water, water everywhere?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

     
    Anaheim, where The Force is with you

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A13 | Gallery

     
    .

    Sports

    Energy, fan-friendly happenings highlight UCD spring football game

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Blue Devil golfers capture CAL Invitational title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Davis gets two baseball wins in two days

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

     
    Grizzlies dominate young Blue Devils on Senior Night

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD roundup: Aggies reach water polo semifinals

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    Blue Devil swimmers are up to the challenge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    DHS softball struggles continue against Sheldon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

     
    Babich brings the heat as DHS girls stick it to Oak Ridge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    History comes alive in ‘The Sacramento Picture’

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Big Italian food, sports bar to fill Little Prague

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A7

    Davis Roots hires new general manager

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Comcast announces speed upgrade

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, April 26, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8