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Tough summer for California community college students, officials say

June 3, 2010 |  5:11 pm

California community college leaders warned Thursday that students will face difficulties enrolling in summer school classes because of reductions in state funding. Some community colleges are offering only half the number of course sections as last summer and are compiling long waiting lists of students seeking a classroom seat, they said.

The summer cuts come after the number of course sections at the colleges were reduced by about 6% on average statewide over last fall and spring semesters, according to California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott. He estimated that 140,000 students were not able to enroll in any classes this year.

"We are really saddened to think there are people who have been planning all their lives to go to college and find the doors are closed," Scott said during a telephone news conference timed to highlight the issue as the Legislature starts to debate education funding for next year.

Among the summer school changes, the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District in San Diego County reports a reduction of 50% and Bakersfield College reports a 28% reduction.  Schools say classes are filling up quickly and that thousands of students are on waiting lists, especially for basic classes needed for transfer or career requirements like English, history and biology.

Los Angeles City College in East Hollywood has canceled all summer courses, and the other eight campuses in the city college  system -- Valley, Pierce, West Los Angeles, Southwest, Harbor, Trade Technical, East Los Angeles and Mission -- are expected to offer reduced class schedules, officials said. Valley College has already announced that all its summer classes are full.

-- Larry Gordon and Gale Holland