No room in the class at many colleges

Community colleges are struggling to meet student demand, reports Inside Higher Ed.

In California, with the state budget still in limbo, colleges have been forced to cut class sections and put more students on wait lists. The Los Rios district near Sacramento has four colleges and 40,000 students on wait lists: For every two students enrolled, there’s another student waiting to get in.

In Las Vegas, the College of Southern Nevada is handling growing enrollment by hiring more part-timers and prioritizing high-demand classes. Still, 1,541 students tried and failed to register for biology 187, a key “gateway course” for many science majors; there’s space for 1,082 students.

Last year, the college began offering classes between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. This year, 20 different courses will meet at unusual times.

At Central New Mexico Community College, in Albuquerque, enrollment has grown by more than 25 percent in the past three years and students are taking more credit hours per semester.  There are wait lists in introductory English and math at “bottleneck times” of 10 am to 2 pm and 5 to 7 pm,  noted Phillip Bustos, the college’s vice president for student services.

To accommodate those who cannot get into a section of a course essential for graduation, transfer, or continuance to a higher-level course, Bustos said, the college is getting some faculty and students to work together for something akin to an “independent study” — meaning faculty do additional one-on-one work with a few students. Also, though the college has not done so yet, Bustos said, it may alter its traditional practice of keeping classes to less than 30 or so students before the beginning of spring registration.

Calhoun Community College in Alabama is letting more students “substitute equivalent courses within programs of study for one another if they are a course or two short of graduation or transfer.”

POSTED BY Joanne Jacobs ON September 16, 2010

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