Sunday, April 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Prop. 30 helps increase community college enrollment

By
September 13, 2013 | Leave Comment

By Nanette Asimov
For the first time in years, California’s community colleges are opening their doors to more students — about 60,000 more — instead of turning them away.

College officials on Wednesday credited Proposition 30, the tax increase approved by voters in November, for propelling a happy domino effect across the college system: More money pays for more courses, which allows more students to enroll.

Still, the 112 community colleges in the system had turned away 10 times that number of students, about 600,000, since the recession began in 2008, and college budgets had been cut so deeply that the turnaround will take years to complete.

“I think we’ll be able to do it quicker than 10 years — 2017 is a pretty reasonable expectation” to get back to the number of students and courses offered before the economy went south, said Chancellor Brice Harris of the state’s community college system.

$810 million this year
Prop. 30 is infusing the colleges with an additional $810 million through the current budget year. That’s less than the $1.5 billion lost during the four-year recession but apparently enough to help the colleges begin to bounce back.

At its height in 2008, enrollment in the nation’s largest community college system stood at 2.9 million students, officials said. Last year, enrollment plunged to about 2.3 million but is expected to rise by about 60,000 this year — 10 percent of those turned away.

A new survey shows enrollment growth at 86 of the 95 colleges that responded, Harris said.

The increase is evidence that schools are able to afford more courses and instructors. Unlike four-year universities, which can turn away students who don’t meet academic standards, community colleges must enroll all students – unless there aren’t enough classes for them.

Between 2011 and 2012, for example, colleges reduced course offerings by 3.3 percent, resulting in an enrollment decline of 5.5 percent, according to state data.

That downward trend has been largely vanquished.

Of the 13 Bay Area colleges that responded to the survey, all but one were able to offer more course sections.

Only Cañada College in Redwood City showed a decline, of nearly 5 percent. Officials of the school did not return calls.

Restoring classes
Area schools that boosted course offerings anywhere between 1 and 11 percent were Chabot College in Hayward, College of Alameda, College of Marin, Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College, Laney College in Oakland, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, Napa Valley College, Ohlone College in Fremont, San Jose City College and two Santa Rosa Junior Colleges.

“After years of all the bad news, we’re finally able to begin to restore the classes and services that students need,” said Jeff Heyman, spokesman for the Peralta College District in the East Bay. In addition to Laney and College of Alameda, the district includes Berkeley City College and Merritt College in Oakland.

More than 220 classes have been added across all four colleges since last year, thanks to Prop. 30, plus $7 million a year for eight years from a new parcel tax. With that, the district has hired more than 40 additional instructors, counselors and other staff, which has meant a blossoming of new classes over what the schools had last year – more than 80 each at Laney and Berkeley, Heyman said, and more than 40 at Alameda and 14 at Merritt.

No word from CCSF
City College of San Francisco, the state’s biggest, and most troubled, community college, did not respond to the survey. The vast school is struggling to remain accredited in part because administrators refused during the recession to cut classes and lay off faculty as the school’s state allocation shrank. Fall registration is down 14 percent from last year — a loss of nearly 3,000 students.

Meanwhile, college officials elsewhere said that though they are admitting more students, thousands can’t register because colleges still can’t afford to offer enough classes to meet demand.

“We’re thrilled that some access has been opened up,” said Dianne Van Hook, chancellor of the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita (Los Angeles County), who joined Harris in announcing the survey results.

“Not being able to say ‘yes’ to students is a hard thing.”

Thousands on wait lists
Across the state, 55 percent of courses were full, leaving more than 5,000 students on wait lists for 60,000 courses, according to the survey.

The average class size was a roomy 26 in 2008. As courses declined, 31 students packed into classes, on average. The latest survey shows a slight easing, to an average of 30 per class.

“We’ve stopped the bleeding,” said Chrisanne Knox, spokeswoman for Diablo Valley College, which has added 150 new classes to its fall schedule and 4,500 additional students to its enrollment of 20,000.

But she and others can’t help but wonder about the hundreds of thousands of students up and down the state who couldn’t get into essential courses, mostly basic math, English and sciences — prerequisites for other courses and for transfer.

“Students can’t just wait for a college to be ready for them,” Knox said. “They don’t just sit around playing video games. So we’ve really missed four years of students.

“And that’s tragic.”

— Reach Nanette Asimov at nasimov@sfchronicle.com

San Francisco Chronicle

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

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

  • .

    News

    UCD admits record number; 4,284 from abroad

    By Cory Golden | From Page: A1

     
    Hub of activity: DHS newspaper keeps evolving

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    A springtime ritual

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Tom Adams seeks Davis school board seat

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

    Holy fire ceremony draws thousands in Jerusalem

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Tour renovated YCCC facility Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Tour Davis Waldorf School on Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    The fifth annual Tour de Cluck is soon to be hatched

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Ortiz lawn signs available

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sign up soon for spring cooking classes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Robb Davis team to rally on Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Steadfast in their support

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Yolo Hospice offers free grief workshops

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Sign up for Camp Kesem caterpillar crawl

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Quilters gear up for annual show

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A4

    League hosts a series of candidate forums

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    KDVS launches fund drive on Monday

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

    Calling all Scrabble fans

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Hub webpage is seeing traffic increasing

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

    Lescroart welcomes all to book-launch party

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16 | Gallery

     
    DEVO set to serve up 14th annual Winkler Dinner

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

    Learn Chinese crafts at I-House

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A16

     
    Preschool open house set at Davis Waldorf

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

    Birch Lane celebrates its 50th anniversary

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

     
    Hotel/conference center info meeting set

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

    .

    Forum

    Take ownership of your health

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Keep your baby safe

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Reliving the agony and ecstasy of spring

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

     
    Road diet? No, city diet!

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 2 Comments

     
    We’re reveling in our equality

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Vote no; it’s fiscally responsible

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

     
    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

     
    Core values on campus

    By Our View | From Page: A12

     
    Bill is an affront to UC Davis ag biotech and local farmers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13

    Don’t want to sit in Fix 50 traffic? Consider alternatives

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

     
    .

    Sports

     
    UCD softball shut out by Santa Barbara

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie men shoot 9-under, lead own tourney

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Stars shine in Woody Wilson Classic

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils burn up the track

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    UCD roundup: Aggie baseball swept away by Highlanders

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    A’s score 3 in ninth, rally past Astros 4-3

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Yolo Federal Credit Union gets WISH funds

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    PG&E pays taxes, fees to county, cities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

    Will Davis get an Old Soul?

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9

     
    Pediatricians, nurse practitioner hired at Woodland Healthcare

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Asian stocks mostly higher after mixed U.S. earnings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

     
    Davis Roots will showcase its graduating startups

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14

    University Honda wins another President’s Award

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

     
    Dutch Bros. raises $19,000 for girl with leukemia

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, April 20, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8