Calif. legislature passes bill aiming to add higher-cost community college classes

Lauren Williams's picture

California’s community colleges may soon be able to charge higher fees for certain high-demand classes, after both houses of the California State Legislature passed a bill earlier this month.

Normally, California residents pay about $46 per unit to take classes at community colleges, with each class offering about three units. The bill, waiting to be signed or vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown, would implement a pilot program allowing six community colleges across California to offer additional classes during summer and winter sessions at a cost of about $200 per unit.

“I fundamentally don’t believe that our system should force students to take six to eight years to complete a four-year education,” said Assemblymember Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, author of the bill.

The bill comes in the wake of a 21 percent decline in community college course offerings since the 2007-08 academic year, according to a March 2013 report by the Public Policy Institute of California. Williams hopes the additional courses — although more expensive upfront — will allow students to ultimately save money by graduating earlier.

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