Cash Drought Forces Class Shortage at S.D. Community Colleges

    ‘The extraordinary wait list is driven by people losing jobs,’ he said. ‘It all comes down to economic interest.’

    Dittbenner added that dependence on state funding makes community colleges especially vulnerable, more so than the University of California.

    ‘We are pretty much the limb of [California’s budget] system,’ he said. ‘Although UC is impacted, it is a different situation.’

    Students at the district’s community colleges who are unable to enroll in required classes will likely have to push back their graduation dates.

    Grant Betrix, a business major at Mesa College who hopes to transfer to Cal State San Marcos, said he is struggling to find transferable courses for his major with open seats.

    ‘Because of these budget cuts, teachers at Mesa aren’t getting paid enough, or the school isn’t hiring well-qualified teachers,’ he said. ‘It seems like the quality of education is also being cut back.’

    In light of significant increases in transfer applications from community college students, the UC Board of Regents voted last month to increase systemwide transfer enrollment for the 2009-10 academic year by 500 students, or 4 percent.

    UCSD Assistant Vice Chancellor of Admissions Mae W. Brown said UCSD received 11,483 transfer applications and plans to enroll 1,925 transfer students this fall. Although this number is higher than in previous years, Brown suspects the economic effects on transfer students will be even more evident in future years, when she expects the brunt of the budget cuts’ impacts to set in.

    Dittbenner stressed the significance of California’s community colleges to the workforce, calling them the ‘work engines of the state.’

    According to a December 2008 report by the Public Policy Institute of California, the state’s need for college-educated workers is outpacing the state’s ability to produce them, and 41 percent of California employees will need a bachelor’s degree to meet the state’s projected economic demand by 2025.

    Readers can contact Heather Houry at [email protected].

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    More than 12,000 San Diego Community College District students were denied classes for the Spring Semester as a result of fewer course offerings, stemming from decreased funding and a rapidly growing pool of attendees.

    Enrollment increased 13 percent this year and 600 classes have been cut, according to district spokesman Richard Dittbenner.

    The district ‘mdash; which includes City College, Mesa College, Miramar College and six Continuing Education campuses ‘mdash; has slashed $11 million from its budget over the past 18 months, and is expected to cut up to an additional $5 million over the next several months to compensate for decreased state funding.

    Dittbenner said he is uncertain whether class offerings will return to past levels.

    ‘The extraordinary wait list is driven by people losing jobs,’ he said. ‘It all comes down to economic interest.’

    Dittbenner added that dependence on state funding makes community colleges especially vulnerable, more so than the University of California.

    ‘We are pretty much the limb of [California’s budget] system,’ he said. ‘Although UC is impacted, it is a different situation.’

    Students at the district’s community colleges who are unable to enroll in required classes will likely have to push back their graduation dates.

    Grant Betrix, a business major at Mesa College who hopes to transfer to Cal State San Marcos, said he is struggling to find transferable courses for his major with open seats.

    ‘Because of these budget cuts, teachers at Mesa aren’t getting paid enough, or the school isn’t hiring well-qualified teachers,’ he said. ‘It seems like the quality of education is also being cut back.’

    In light of significant increases in transfer applications from community college students, the UC Board of Regents voted last month to increase systemwide transfer enrollment for the 2009-10 academic year by 500 students, or 4 percent.

    UCSD Assistant Vice Chancellor of Admissions Mae W. Brown said UCSD received 11,483 transfer applications and plans to enroll 1,925 transfer students this fall. Although this number is higher than in previous years, Brown suspects the economic effects on transfer students will be even more evident in future years, when she expects the brunt of the budget cuts’ impacts to set in.

    Dittbenner stressed the significance of California’s community colleges to the workforce, calling them the ‘work engines of the state.’

    According to a December 2008 report by the Public Policy Institute of California, the state’s need for college-educated workers is outpacing the state’s ability to produce them, and 41 percent of California employees will need a bachelor’s degree to meet the state’s projected economic demand by 2025.

    Readers can contact Heather Houry at [email protected].

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