State Sen. Carol Liu says community college registration must be 'more focused'

With thousands of students unable to get the classes they need, state Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) on Monday touted legislation that would force those entering the community college system to have an education plan — and stick with it.

Speaking at Glendale Community College, Liu said the legislation she c-authored — and which is awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature — would support students at the front-end of their education by making them set a clear path for graduation to make their time in the system more efficient.

“We need to become — because we simply don’t have the resources — more focused,” Liu said. “We want our students to become more focused.”

Under the pressure of tight budget cuts, Glendale Community College has encountered its own hurdles. Five thousand students were on waiting lists for reduced classes in the first week of this semester and officials are looking to cut roughly 100 classified employee positions.

But the impetus for Senate Bill 1456 follows statewide challenges seen over the several years. In 2009-2010, first-time students unable to sign-up for community college classes statewide totaled 133,000.

Liu referred to a 2010 report by the Sacramento State University for Higher Education and Policy that found that after six years of enrolling in community colleges, 70% of students had not completed a degree, certificate or had transferred to a four-year school.

Under “The Student Success Act of 2012”, students must claim their educational goals upon registering. They must also state their course of study and whether they’re after a certain degree, certificate or looking to transfer to a four-year school.

Students who attend orientation and are assessed academically have proven more successful than the first time students who “wander through trying to find classes here or there without any kind of articulation,” Liu said.

Meanwhile, each college must provide counseling and “academic intervention to ensure students achieve their educational goals,” Liu said.

“I want more kids coming out of the system getting their bachelor degrees or a technical certificate,” Liu said. “I want them into jobs. I want them working for themselves and I want them working for the rest of us.”

The registration changes would take affect for 2014.

-- Kelly Corrigan, Times Community News

Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan


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