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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Tuesday, May 21, 2013

State Assembly Approves Williams’ College Access Bill

In a signal of hope for California community college students, the California State Assembly on Monday approved a voluntary program that would increase access at community colleges.


AB 955, authored by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, would allow colleges to offer courses at cost to students who choose to take them during summer and winter intersessions.

“This is a choice,” said Assemblymember Williams. “These same courses at the lower fees would still be offered during the regular academic year. But if students choose to pay a higher fee during a summer or winter session, this would allow them that opportunity.”

Community colleges would have the option to implement the courses. In addition, a college district would only qualify to offer this program if it has been at enrollment capacity for the preceding two years. The bill states that these courses could not supplant any existing courses.

In addition, one-third of the revenues collected by the extension program must go to provide financial assistance for low income students. The bill now moves to the Senate for a vote.

Since 2007, California community colleges have cut almost 100,000 courses and turned away more than 600,000 students, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. More than 500,000 students were on waiting lists at the beginning of the 2012 Fall semester.

These voluntary courses would allow students to take classes immediately, rather than wait another year or longer in order to take the classes they need to transfer.

“This option would save students potentially thousands of dollars in living expenses by allowing them to take a course and transfer, rather than hang around for a year waiting for a class to open up,” Williams said.

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