Survey Offers Dire Picture Of California's Two-Year Colleges

Ann McClure's picture

More than 470,000 community college students are beginning the fall semester on waiting lists, unable to get into the courses they need, according to a survey of California's two-year colleges that captures a system struggling amid severe budget cuts.

The survey, to be released Wednesday, quantified the myriad problems affecting the system, many of which have been anecdotally reported by students on many campuses. The colleges expect steep declines in enrollment and class offerings compared with last fall.

California's community college system, the nation's largest, has suffered about $809 million in state funding cuts since 2008. It faces another $338-million hit midyear if voters reject a tax measure on the November ballot supported by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The system has a dual role: It educates students who intend to transfer to four-year schools and it offers job training for others. College officials have been grappling with how to best continue its mission with lower funding but increased demand.

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