The fees to attend California's community colleges are by far the lowest in the United States — less than half the national average — yet at least 40 percent of the 2.4 million students in the largest U.S. system of higher education do not pay them.Is California so broken that it can't even run a college system?
The reasons? An unusual financial aid program and a half-century-old vision that made affordability and open access the chief purpose of the two-year schools.
The costs are so low at $1,380 a year for a full-time load and are so frequently waived for students who meet income and social eligibility criteria that during the recent economic downturn the system relinquished more fee revenue — $577 million — than the $361 million it collected, according to 2011-12 data from the California Community College chancellor's office...
Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education President David Longanecker has been trying to convince California officials that the 1960 plan needs to be revamped or scrapped.
"In the 20th century, we were trying to encourage people to go to college and that made a heck of a lot of sense in the 1960s when California was a wealthy state," Longanecker said. "Today, California is no longer a wealthy state and we are turning people away from college who want to come. What we have now is a low-cost pricing scheme that is starving the system and doesn't make sense in the 21st Century."
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Community College Troubles
What good are fees if you don't charge them?