Budget limits open sections
Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 18:05
In 10 years, the schedule of classes available at the college went from a rich, colorful magazine to a plain black and white listing before it ended up exclusively online.
These visible changes to Contra Costa College’s list of courses available each semester are symbolic of the decrease in offerings over the last decade as a result of continuing budget cuts from state legislators.
“The state is redefining for us our mission and who we serve,” CCC Director of Business Services Mariles Magalong said.
Sections available have decreased at the college by nearly 25 percent over the last 10 years and funding has decreased more than 15 percent.
Health and human services major Alfonzo Rodgers said he was on the waiting list for one of his four classes this semester and does not want to be in that same position at the beginning of the next semester.
“My priority registration is (today) at 1 (p.m.),” he said sitting alone in the quad between the Bookstore and Library on Monday afternoon. “I pray that I can get the other classes offered at health and human services.”
The funds allocated from the state to the colleges, specifically the Contra Costa Community College District, have decreased each of the past four years and will do so again in the 2012-13 academic year.
It is the worst period of funding to higher education that college administrators have seen.
It forces them to choose which courses and services they can afford to provide for students as it fits into their mission of serving transfer students, providing basic skills and promoting career and technical education.
“The past ups and downs were not as drastic as we are experiencing now,” said Magalong, who started at CCC in 2000. “It’s been very drastic the past two years and we haven’t seen the bottom.”
Funding for community colleges is calculated by Full-Time Equivalent Students. One FTES is equal to a student taking 12 units.
The state allocates funding for its 112 community colleges based on previous years’ enrollment figures and sets funding for their campuses based on FTES projections for the next year.
In the fall 2002 semester, CCC’s enrollment peak, the college had 3,207 FTES. Projections for next fall, however, are 2,677 FTES — a 16.5 percent decrease in 10 years.
“It impacts accessibility to students and to the community,” Interim Vice President Donna Floyd said. “It looks like we’re going to have to be creative reducing the schedule.”
Scheduling and course section offerings are where the effects of the budget are found.
From fall 2002, when 924 sections were listed in the schedule, to next fall’s schedule where 695 sections are available, there has been a 24.8 percent decrease.
There will be 12 percent fewer sections offered in the fall 2012 semester than in fall 2010.
Departments have been eliminated, including dental assisting and welding, but none have been created to replace them.
Courses in both programs were offered since the founding of the college in 1960.
“For certificates and degrees (in vocational areas), we won’t be able to offer those courses every semester,” Dr. Floyd said.