California community college students will continue to be able to take as many credits as they like at the state’s low rates, reports the Sacramento Bee. Gov. Jerry Brown had proposed limiting students to 90 units, then requiring them to pay more than four times the current $46-per-unit price. Budget committees in both houses of the Legislature said no.
The governor hopes to increase access to the crowded community college system and improve graduation rates by encouraging students to develop an academic plan and avoid lingering.
Lawmakers said capping units is not the way to increase access or success. Assembly Budget Chair Bob Blumenfield, D-Woodland Hills, called the unit cap proposal inappropriate and off target.
“The administration proposals simply stick it to students who have already had to contend with fewer classes and massive fee increases,” Blumenfield said. “They respond to symptoms of a much bigger problem. Even if the administration could offer evidence showing a budget savings associated with these proposals, they are bad policy choices to make today.”
Critics said unit caps would hurt double majors and laid-off workers who’ve earned a degree but need new skills.
Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said unit caps would create space for new students.
Students need 60 units to earn an associate degree. In the 2011-12 school year, nearly 95,000 students at community colleges had earned 90 or more degree-applicable units.
The board of governors voted last year to “give priority enrollment to students who have developed an educational plan, taken a diagnostic assessment and have earned fewer than 100 units,” notes the Bee. “That’s a much more nuanced way of addressing it than a straight 90 unit cap,” said Theresa Tena, vice president of Community College League of California.