The board of Santa Monica College has approved a plan to charge a much higher price for certain courses, typically to students who enroll for them after the two-year institution has filled its allotment of state-funded courses, the Los Angeles Timesreported. Under the plan, the college would create a nonprofit foundation that would charge as much as $200 a unit for high-demand courses such as English and math, compared to the standard rate of $36 (which is due to rise to $46 this summer).
College officials said they believed the program was on solid legal ground, but critics express the concern that such an approach amounts to privatizing public higher education, and a spokesman for the California Community College chancellor's office told the Times the plan did not appear to comply with state education codes.
The Alabama Board of Education bought out the contract of Freida Hill, chancellor of the state's community college system, on Wednesday, The Birmingham News reported. Hill and board members agreed not to make disparaging remarks about one another. Hill has been in the office for two years. An evaluation of her performance noted that some board members were critical of her performance, but that others defended her. Hill came into office following a scandal that involved convictions of a former chancellor, a former college president and state legislators.
Jack Scott, chancellor of the California Community Colleges, announced Tuesday that he will retire in September. Scott's career has mixed academe and politics. He has been president of Pasadena City College and Cypress College, and was an influential legislator on education issues during terms in California's Assembly and Senate. Scott became chancellor in 2009, and served in the role during a time of huge budget cuts and increased enrollment demands. California's community college system is highly decentralized, and Scott both pushed for more funds and for reforms that he said were needed in light of dwindling dollars.
California's community colleges need a sharper, more focused set of goals and the state needs a stronger body to oversee the institutions, a bipartisan panel focused on improving state programs said in a report Tuesday. The Little Hoover Commission argued that the state's scores of two-year institutions suffer because they try to do too many things with too few resources, and that Californians would be better off if the colleges focused on student success in three main areas: basic skills education, career technical education, and preparation for transfer to four-year institutions. It also calls for making the colleges' chancellor's office an independent agency with more authority and responsibility, and for allocating funds to community colleges in ways that encourage and reward student success.
Submitted by Paul Fain on February 22, 2012 - 3:00am
California's community colleges face an unexpected $149 million budget cut this year because of low property tax revenue and a "dramatic" increase in the number of students who qualify for tuition waivers, Jack Scott, chancellor of the 112-college system, said in a written statement. The shortfall, which would represent a 2.75 percent decrease in the system's overall budget, follows $502 million in previous cuts. Scott said colleges would have to cope by further reducing course offerings, borrowing more money and eliminating jobs.
The Community College League of California told the Los Angeles Times that the state typically picks up the slack when the system's tuition and tax revenue lag. But a spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown's Department of Finance said the gloomy predictions were premature, according to the newspaper.