Community College: The Same Thing, Only Much More Expensive

California residents may now have the option of paying more money for community college courses. According to a piece by Joanne Jacobs at Community College Spotlight:

California just raised tuition from $26 per credit to $36. That’s about $1,000 a year for a full-time student, the lowest tuition in the nation. The proposed premium courses could cost as much as $150 per credit.

The premium courses, which the state legislature is now considering, would be essentially identical to regular classes; only by paying extra students could ensure that stops are actually available in the courses they want to take. According to a an article at Inside Higher Ed:

The bill would allow two-year institutions to create “extension programs” offering credit courses. The courses would have to be “self-supporting, with all costs recovered,” and could not supplant existing courses funded with state dollars. But the courses could be quite similar to the regular courses — just with much higher tuition rates.

Up to 15,000 Californians want to take courses that are full. So they have to sit on wait lists. The more expensive courses would allow students to bypass the wait lists.

Basically the trouble is that California isn’t providing enough money to actually fund community colleges sufficient for the demand. There are still many more students who want to enroll in California community colleges, despite the fact that the courses are full.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer