California community colleges are offering fewer classes and have more than 470,000 students on waitlists this fall, according to a survey on the impact of budget cuts conducted by the Chancellor’s Office.
Community college funding has been cut $809 million — 12 percent — since 2008-2009 and enrollment has dropped by more than 485,000 students.
“While demand for spots at community colleges has soared, colleges have seen historic enrollment declines because of funding cuts,” Chancellor Jack Scott said last week.
The number of available classes has dropped 24 percent since 2008, and non-credit course classes have dropped 38 percent.
Dozens of community colleges report longer wait times for support services as well. Santa Barbara City College eliminated a two-day student/parent orientation and instituted a 29 percent cut in office hours, which “negatively impacts students’ ability to understand and navigate the college processes,” according to the survey.
Of the 112 schools, 78 responded to the survey on budget cut impacts. If Proposition 30 — which would raise state income and sales tax rates — is not approved by voters in November, the Community College System faces another $338 million in cuts, and most colleges intend to cut even more course sections and use reserve funds if that happens, according to the survey.
SBCC has 117 fewer credit classes this fall than last fall, a drop to 1,982 sections from 2,099, SBCC public information officer Joan Galvan said.
The school had received 2,784 wait-list requests as of Aug. 27 and won’t be offering a winter session — a shorter session between the fall and spring semesters.
The Board of Trustees will consider canceling next year’s summer session, which draws the enrollment of thousands of students each year. SBCC trustees already voted to gradually convert certain adult education classes to fee-based from free, starting this fall.
While SBCC must finalize a budget this month, administrators obviously won’t know the fate of Proposition 30 until November.
There will be a $4.6 million loss for SBCC through a “workload reduction” funding cut if the measure fails, Galvan said.
“This translates into class section reductions and continued shrinkage of our course offerings, which in turn impacts access for students, creates barriers to goal progression and further delays a student’s attainment for a degree, certificate or transfer.”