Fee increases to hit GWC students in summer 2012

JERRY BROWN campaigning for governor in 2010.

By Cory Gaudaur
Western Sun news editor

With students about to see another increase to the fee per unit cost at California community colleges statewide, it is hard to believe, compared to the $46 per unit students registering in the Summer of 2012 will pay, that at one time the cost per unit was a mere $5.

The year was 1984 when this was a reality, and the cost has continued to steadily rise over the course of the last 28 years. The $10 increase that students must face in the coming months is a result of the $400-600 million revenue cuts to California community colleges, part of Governor Jerry Brown’s 2012 state budget cuts.

Community colleges statewide are expecting to lose up to 182,000 students and approximately 28,000 course sections in the summer 2012 semester, as a result of the budget cuts and increased fee per unit cost.

Jennifer Ortberg, director of admissions and records at Golden West College, posed an interesting question.“Will the raise in tuition raise the number of students that qualify for financial aid,” said Ortberg. The $10 increase may do just that for some students who just miss out on qualifying.

Ortberg is not expecting to lose many students at GWC when it comes time for registration. Ortberg said, “I’ve never had a student come to me and say that they could not take a class because of a raise in fee per unit cost.”

However, Ortberg believes that between the recent budget cuts and increased fee per unit price, “there may be a cause for students to reduce the number of units that they take this coming semester,” Ortberg said.

If that happens, this could cause even bigger problems for California community colleges in the future. As the number of students who take fewer classes in response to the fee hike increases, the number of students that fail to graduate in a timely manner will increase as well, causing decreased availability of classes and overcrowded classrooms.

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