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Posted on May 30 at 2:25 p.m.
Opponents of AB 955 need to get past their knee-jerk reactions that this is a rich versus poor issue. In reality, it’s about offering another option that will make ALL students better off and none worse off.
Currently, community colleges have insufficient funding to fulfill all demand for courses. Consequently, colleges have long “waiting lists” of students who are hoping to get “slots” in class sections. These classes are significantly subsidized by state taxpayers ($46/unit versus $200/unit full cost). Many of these students (regardless of financial status) would be willing to pay the full cost of instruction to enroll in a class, if the option were available.
AB 955 provides this option.
Under AB 955, if enough students are willing to pay the full cost of a new class section, the section can be created. These students are not “buying their way to the front of the line” for an existing course; they are LEAVING the line to enroll in a NEW section for which THEY ARE PAYING THE FULL COST. If there are insufficient paying students, the course section WILL NOT BE CREATED. In either case, nothing is taken from the students who were waiting in line; funding for state-subsidized courses is untouched. In effect, THE BILL ELIMINATES THE STATE SUBSIDY FOR THOSE WHO DON’T NEED IT.
There is precedent for this option: University of California Extension. UC Extension courses have long been offered under exactly the same conditions as those prescribed by AB 955: no state subsidy & students pay full cost of instruction.
In sum, AB 955 is a WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN. First, students who value their time very highly benefit from being able to create new class sections by paying their full cost. Second, all other students benefit as the waiting list for state-subsidized class sections is shortened. Third, AB 955 gives adjunct faculty the opportunity to earn additional income. And, finally, there is no cost to the taxpayer.
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