HuffPo: Santa Monica College To Offer More Expensive Courses For Students Who Can Afford Them

17 03 2012

The Huffington Post  |  By 

Posted: 03/16/2012 4:23 pm Updated: 03/16/2012 4:37 pm

After millions of dollars in budget cuts over the last few years, Santa Monica College says that help is on the way — thanks to a controversial new plan to shore up their budget.

The community college will price units for the most sought-after classes at five times the current cost, effectively allowing rich students to get first dibs on enrollment.

Starting this summer and winter semesters, the college will form a separate nonprofit foundation that will offer core courses at about $600 each, or about $200 per unit, the Associated Press reports. Regular courses are currently priced at $108 each, or $36 per unit.

Student government President Harrison Wills told the Huffington Post that he is concerned that students were not a part of this decision. He said that the student organizing committee is planning “something big” to try to stop the new plan.

“We need tax structure reforms that address the real problem here. We can’t kick down the can with a Band-Aid solution that helps rich kids,” Wills stated. “We need classes that are accessible for everyone. That was the original vision for public education. Anything else is the wrong direction.”

As a state community college, SMC’s mission is to be as accessible as possible, and schools like it are often the only chance low-income students have to pursue higher education. Opponents say SMC’s new system, the first of its kind in the nation, will replace the campus atmosphere of equality with an atmosphere of have’s and have-not’s.

Proponents and SMC President Dr. Chui Tsang, however, say there is no other way to provide more courses for students who desperately need them. Having faced $10 million in funding cuts in this last year alone, the college has had to lock 230,000 students out of the system, ABC reports. The school has also had to cut more than a thousand courses since 2008, forcing students to sometimes wait years for the courses they need.

A spokesman for California Community Colleges Chancellor said the plan, which SMC’s Board of Trustees approved last week, does not appear to comply with state education codes, and the chancellor may intervene, Business Insider reports.

(Full Story with Video)




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