The Arizona Community College That Can’t Afford Open Admissions

In an effort to try and reduce the cost of remediation, one Arizona community college plans to start instituting some selectivity. According to an article by Pamela Powers in the Tuscon Citizen:

Pima Community College has had a long egalitarian tradition of offering higher education to anyone who wanted it but that could change in 2012. During the summer, Pima announced its plans to eliminate its open enrollment policy.

Pima’s governing board proposes to institute an entrance exam which will determine who is admitted to Pima. In addition to passing the entrance exam, students must show proof of a high school education or a GED. Students who don’t pass the entrance exam will be offered remedial courses which non-credit and, therefore, not eligible for financial aid.

The test is supposed to demonstrate that a potential student is “at least at a seventh-grade level in math, reading and writing.”

Because students won’t be eligible for financial aid, the new policy would dramatically reduce the number of students taking these remedial courses.

The reason for this new policy is financial. Thanks to Gov. Jan Brewer’s budget cuts earlier this year Arizona community colleges saw state funding reductions of almost 50 percent. Thanks to this, community colleges in the state are forced to be creative about saving money. The new seventh-grade minimum will allow Pima Community College to get rid of 200 adjunct professor positions.

What remains unclear about this is how the community college plans to determine whether or not students have really met this seventh-grade proficiency. Let’s guess which test the school will use.

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