Nearly a half million students have been shut out of California community colleges since 2008 - a 17 percent drop in enrollment - as budget cuts have forced schools to limit the number of courses they can offer, a new survey of the campuses shows.
"We've lost more students than are enrolled at all California State University campuses combined," said Chancellor Jack Scott, who presides over the state's 112 community colleges.
The survey this month of California's colleges by the chancellor's office showed that, since 2008, the number of courses has declined by 24 percent statewide as the system was drained of $809 million, 12 percent of its funding.
The result has been a dramatic drop in the number of students the system can afford to teach, the survey suggests. Four years ago, the colleges served 2.9 million students. Today, it's closer to 2.4 million, a loss of 485,000 students, Scott said.