California Voters To Decide CC Fees Today


Lost in all the battling for the presidential primary sweepstakes are the many state and local initiatives which are also being put before voters this year. Today, which is also California Vote 2008called Super Tuesday, is when voters from 22 states will have the opportunity to select their party’s candidate for president. California leads the list of states participating and some political analyts expect frontrunners to emerge for both the Democratic and Republican parties.

While at the polls on Tuesday, California residents will have the opportunity to cast yes or no votes on seven proposition initiatives including Proposition 92, which proposes to trim student fees at the state’s 109 community colleges. Not everyone is for the initiative which would save students an average of $150 and limit the state’s ability to hike these fees in the future.

Two and one half million students are educated through the California community college system each year, an educational system that makes college affordable for many who otherwise would not be able to receive a higher education. Like many states, successful community college students in California can transfer their credits to state and other colleges upon graduation, saving themselves a chunk of money.

Some people believe that community college students are paying too much for school and have pushed Proposition 92 as a way of trimming their costs. The average full time student currently pays $600 annually in student fees which translates to $20 per credit. Prop 92, if passed, would drop that cost to $15 per credit or $450 per year. Futhermore, the proposition would severely restrict the state’s ability to raise fees in the future, basically capping out the new fee structure.

Currently, California’s community colleges receive their funding from the same pot as the public schools. The state’s elementary, secondary and community college system (together known as K-14) would be divided into two groups, K-12 and the community colleges. Right now, K-14 is running at a deficit of $14.5 billion and the funds to cover the loss of fee income would have to come at the expense of other programs including the state colleges or health-care.

Several school districts have joined with the California Teacher’s Association in opposing the initiative while the state’s Community College Association and the California Federation of Teachers support Prop 92.

Under the current arrangement, students having a difficult time paying their fees can have them waived.



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Categories: Campus News