Editorial: Proposed assembly bill calls for increased fees in misguided attempt to restore courses

A bill has been proposed in the California Assembly that would raise the costs of classes for community college general education courses, including English, math and history.

AB 955, written by Assemblyman Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara), proposes the creation of an extension program that would allow these general courses to be offered at $236 per unit instead of $46 per unit.

[singlepic id=253 w=150 h=300 float=left]The idea is that it would help to provide an opportunity to still take general education courses if the cheaper class fills up too quickly before another student can register for that class.

This extension program would not benefit those who rely on financial aid and would benefit those who can pay for the class on their own.

This demonstrates the idea that those who can afford their education will always be favored over those who are unable to pay up to $708 for a three-unit-class they need to graduate.

Proposition 30, which was passed in last year’s election, is supposed to help fund community colleges by raising sales tax a quarter of a penny and raise income taxes for the wealthy.

However the funds for Prop 30 do not help colleges until the 2013-2014 school year.

The California Government has not allowed for Prop 30 to take into full effect. This bill is being pushed in order to try and regulate what will happen after the 2013-2014 school year.

Proposition 30 has the potential to bring back classes that have been cut in the past and to possibly bring back more teachers to teach those classes.

With the proposed bill, who would teach these classes?

According to an interview with Das Williams, these classes would not be offered when a more affordable class is offered during a semester and would be offered during the breaks, which takes much needed breaks away from professors.

This is not a new idea. Santa Monica College tried to pass a bill very similar to this in spring 2012.

Not only did the student protests affect the vote, but it was also found that it was a violation of educational codes.

By implementing two different fees, it automatically creates a hierarchy among students.

Many community college students cannot afford to take a class that costs them $708 and have no financial aid.

The vast majority of college students rely on Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Board of Governors waiver and Cal Grant to help pay for their classes that currently cost about $138 a class.

Williams is leading the way and as of May 1, 13 out of the 17 representatives of the Assembly for Higher Education support the passage of this bill.

If this bill passes, you can thank the Assembly for making your college career even harder.