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Long Beach City College to offer high-fee and low-fee winter classes

Long Beach City College will offer two sessions this winter -- one charging $46 per unit, the other $225 per unit -- in the first test of a new state law designed to help students graduate more quickly, officials announced Wednesday.

The legislation, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this month, creates a pilot program for six community colleges, including the Long Beach campus, to charge higher tuition in summer and winter for such hard-to-obtain classes as college algebra, history and English that students need to graduate and transfer.

It is similar to a controversial two-tier plan attempted by Santa Monica College in summer 2012 that was ultimately abandoned. Students there vehemently opposed the plan and clashed with campus police at a board meeting. 

The current legislation was also opposed by many student and faculty groups as well as California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris, who argued that it favors those who can pay and undermines open access.

The Long Beach City College Board of Trustees approved adding the two winter sessions at its meeting Tuesday.

“While I am aware of concerns related to our participation in the extension program, LBCC is taking proactive steps towards increasing access and ensuring students are aware of their options and that accurate information on both programs is available in order for them to make informed decisions on their academic goals and needs,” Eloy Ortiz Oakley, the college's superintendent-president, said in a statement.

The Long Beach plan includes a state-funded winter session with per-unit fees of $46 and an extension session with per-unit fees of $225 for resident students and $265 for non-residents.

The college is required to set aside a third of fee revenues from the extension courses as financial aid for low-income students. Those students will be eligible for a scholarship that would reduce extension costs to about $90 per unit, Long Beach officials said. 

Both sessions would begin on Jan. 6 and run concurrently. However, registration for the regular session would begin on Nov. 18 and that for the extension session would start on Dec. 9.

Many details are still to be worked out, such as determining which high-demand courses are eligible for transfer to Cal State or UC universities and which ones would also fit the compressed five- to six-week winter schedule. 

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carla.rivera@latimes.com

Twitter:CarlaRiveraLat

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