Luis Aparicio wasn't sure he wanted to go back to school, but on Monday morning he was at West Los Angeles College, jostling with thousands of other students as they headed to math and history classes or searched for the cafeteria.
It was the first day of the fall term at most of California's 112 community colleges, and statewide budget cuts meant students were returning from summer break to face higher fees, fewer course offerings and crowded classrooms.
An information booth on the Culver City campus overflowed with students hoping to add high-demand classes such as English. Some, like Aparicio, were looking to fill out their schedules with any open courses they could find.
"I thought I might work this semester, but I chose to come to see if I can get the classes I need to finish," said Aparicio, 21, a business major who hopes to transfer to a four-year university. "I tried to find classes online, but most of them were full. So I decided to come the first day to find any free space."