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Community Colleges

Making priority registration the law at community colleges

New California community college students may get priority when registering for courses
University Business, August 2013

A handful of California community colleges have already experimented with priority registration for freshmen, but by fall 2014, every community college in the state will be offering it in some way.

As part of the Student Success Act passed by California state legislators in 2012, new community college students who have completed college orientation and assessment, and who have developed student education plans, will get priority over students who do not meet these criteria, said Erik Skinner, deputy chancellor in the California Community Colleges chancellor’s office, in a statement.

Priority registration will also be given to continuing students who have met these criteria, are in good academic standing, and have not exceeded 100 units (not including nondegree applicable basic skills classes).

The aim is to discourage people with no goals from “aimlessly hanging around community colleges for years, getting the first priority,” says Doreen Clay, public relations manager for Pierce College (Calif.).

California’s Student Success Act grew out of the state’s Student Success Task Force, which spent almost two years studying ways to improve the community college system and developed a list of 22 recommendations. The legislation is an important component of a statewide community college reform initiative. Improving the assistance students receive at the beginning of their college experience is a core aim of the new law.

“[This bill] will put more students on the path to completing their educational goals, and that will make California more competitive economically,” Skinner said. “The Student Success Task Force is resulting in some much needed changes to the way we educate our students.”

Nancy Mann Jackson is an Alabama-based freelance writer.