The high cost of low tuition

Students may pay a high cost for low tuition at community colleges, I write in U.S. News.

All Californians will pay the same low tuition for classes at Santa Monica College—if they can get off the wait list. Student protests forced the school’s board of trustees to suspend its plan to charge a premium for access to new sections of high-demand classes. The state community college chancellor, Jack Scott, has said that he believes two-tier pricing is not permissible under state law.

But the problem—too many students and not enough seats—remains, both at Santa Monica College and at many community colleges across the country.

Making students wait to get into classes raises the odds they’ll give up before earning a degree — or pay much more at for-profit colleges that expand quickly to meet demand.

In Houston, the Lone Star College system will charge extra for classes that cost more to teach, reports Inside Higher Ed.  For example, “standard tuition at the system is $200 for a three-credit course, but students pay $212 to study dental hygiene and $206 for computer science, according to a differential fee chart.”


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