Limiting Community College Classes

As part of its frantic effort to cut costs, the state of California is considering punishing students in California community colleges who fail to pass their classes the first time around.

According to a piece by Erica Perez at California Watch:

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors today will consider a policy change that would free up more spaces for new students by limiting the number of times students can repeat certain courses on the state’s dime.

Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott’s proposed policy would cut off state funding to community colleges for students who take the same course more than three times. Students could get state funding for a fourth repeat of the class with a successful appeal. It’s a move Scott has been mulling for several months as a way to manage the system’s increasingly limited resources. In 2009-10, the state’s community colleges had to turn away 140,000 students because of course reductions resulting from state budget cuts.

It’s unclear how much money this move would save. It’s very unlikely that someone who has failed a course three times will pass it on the fourth try. The more times a student tries to take a course the less likely he is to pass it.

The most frequently repeated courses are physical education, music, math, dance and English.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

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