Better choice of courses for serious community college students

July 6, 2012

Community college students who show that they’re serious about reaching their educational goals would get priority registration for classes under a proposal coming up Monday before the California Community Colleges Board of Governors.

Under the recommendation, “students in good standing, who are making progress toward a certificate, degree, transfer, or career advancement objective” would be allowed to step to the front of the line for registration.

The plan was one of the 22 recommendations from the Student Success Task Force, a group of teachers, students, and administrators charged with boosting the number of students who graduate or transfer from community college.

Although California’s community colleges enroll about 2.6 million students, completion rates have been dismal.   Rates vary widely from college to college, but across the 112 campus system barely 54 percent of students who say they want to earn a degree or certificate, or transfer to a four-year college, ever succeed at their goals.  The figures are even lower for African American and Latino students.

The Task Force proposals are designed to provide incentives for students to stay the course, and priority enrollment could be a clincher these days when budget cuts have eliminated so many courses that there’s no sure bet of getting into required classes. On the flip side, the recommendation also makes it clear that priority enrollment can be fleeting for students who don’t stay in good standing either by landing in academic probation for two consecutive terms or by earning more than 100 units without enough of them going toward a degree.

Students who get this privilege would still have to fall in behind others who already have priority enrollment status, including active duty military and veterans, current and former foster youth, and students in the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services and Disabled Students Programs and Services.

There won’t be any final decision at Monday’s meeting; it’s just coming up for a first hearing before the Board of Governors.



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