Course section cuts create added travel
Concurrent enrollment stresses undergraduates
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 14:10
With more courses disappearing each semester, students are looking for classes at other campuses to assist them to meet their transfer requirements.
Course section cuts at Contra Costa College have resulted in students having to venture elsewhere in order to take the classes they need to transfer to a four-year college, specifically sister colleges Diablo Valley and Los Mendanos.
According to Dr. Tim Clow, senior dean of research and planning, there are currently 40,356 students enrolled at the three campuses in the Contra Costa Community College District.
And, more specifically, there are 735 students attending both CCC and DVC, 129 at both LMC and CCC and more than 1,102 students at DVC and LMC.
The number of students who attend all three campuses concurrently is 81.
CCC counselor Andrea Phillips said the increase in students attending other colleges could be attributed to budget cuts and that enrollment could become more competitive if Proposition 30, which would create revenue to fund the state’s community colleges, does not pass in the Nov. 6 election.
“If Prop. 30 doesn’t pass we’ll see more cuts,” Phillips said. “And we’ll see more students going to more colleges.”
Nursing major Elizabeth Lee said she attends both CCC and DVC because she needed a microbiology class that was not offered at CCC this semester, forcing her to look elsewhere. She said having to commute between two colleges means she has to manage her time better due to having to work and attend school.
Kenya Ramirez, another CCC nursing major, said she chose to take classes at DVC because it offered courses that she needed and she heard it had better teachers.
Having to make the journey to other campuses so they can meet not only transfer requirements but also requirements for their chosen majors has not only stressed students mentally, but financially.
With gas prices recently reaching nearly $5 a gallon in California, students are taking a hit in their wallets too.
Driving from CCC to DVC (Pleasant Hill) is about a half-hour one way and from CCC to LMC (Pittsburg) about 45 minutes, without traffic. And although it is only a half-hour drive from DVC to the LMC campus, it takes an hour to get from DVC to the LMC’s Brentwood campus.
With the rise in gas prices, students are using alternative methods to commute. Lee said she carpools with friends in order to save money.
“It’s exhausting having to travel back and forth,” she said. “Me and my friends carpool to DVC on Tuesday and Thursdays.”
Ramirez said she and a friend take turns driving to the Pleasant Hill campus, saying it is not as costly compared to if she traveled alone.
Phillips said even though students attending other colleges put a strain on the Counseling Department, they have the resources to help them.
Kenyetta Tribble, matriculation services coordinator, said when counselors are working with students and they see that the courses they need are not available at CCC, they will recommend them to another campus.
To aid students with their transfer itinerary, counselors use www.assist.org, which allows them to show the students what courses they have completed and those they have yet to finish, Tribble said.
ASSIST is the acronym for Articulation System Stimulating Interinstitutional Student Transfer. The website displays reports on how course credits earned at one California college can be applied when transferred to another.
Lee said though it is stressful for the students, with fewer classes being offered at some campuses it is a necessity to be open to attending other colleges if students want to be able to transfer within a reasonable amount of time.
“If you need your classes, you need your classes. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” she said. “It’s a hassle, but you’ve got to take what you need.”
“If (students) need those classes or if that teacher is horrible it’d be best to go elsewhere,” she said. “I’d recommend it if you really need it.”