Brown signs new bill
Student Success Act to enhance resources
California's failing budget forced the reduction of general fund allotment to community colleges, decreasing the quality of services provided to students by each institution.
As a result, student success rates in the state are down and the number of students enrolling in these institutions is dropping annually - in the 2009-10 academic year there was a total of 2.75 million students attending California community colleges.
In 2010-11, the number dropped to 2.61 million and just last year the number fell again to 2.42 million.
To combat this issue, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the Student Success Act of 2012 (SB 1456) Thursday.
The act is geared toward restructuring support services, improving educational outcomes and better preparing students to survive in the workforce.
The Student Success Act will additionally help campuses statewide support orientations, a universal assessment testing system and education planning services for new, returning and current students, essentially improving the chance of student success in the workforce or at four-year colleges.
The bill also affects priority registration, Board of Governors Fee Waiver qualifications and the addition of student success scorecards that clearly communicate progress of students.
"(The Student Success Act of 2012) means a couple of things to Contra Costa College," Interim Vice President Donna Floyd said. "Registration priorities are going to change and for the college that means we will have to have discussions."
First and second priority groups will remain the same, students near earning an academic degree or transferring will be given priority followed by veterans and EOPS students.
Rich Copenhagen, a student trustee for California Community Colleges, said after recent alterations, students stand behind the new legislation.
A concern Copenhagen has is that some aspects of the bill include the student success scorecards and minimum academic requirements to qualify for fee waivers.
"I am concerned about how equitable it will be," he said. "That is something that we will be looking out for - making sure this doesn't negatively affect any particular student demographic."
He said he hopes the act will not exclude students who are not deemed "successful."
"We don't want to make the California Community Colleges system as exclusive as the UC system," Copenhagen said.
New services and an improvement in student success leads one to believe that funds will be needed to support SB 1456.
However, there is no current estimate regarding the possible cost the bill could place on the California Community College system.
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