Article - Office of College Advancement

Community college students catch break

By Wes Bowers.

Thursday, January 4, 2007—Reprinted from Fremont Bulletin.

Community college students across the state received a bit of good news this week regarding their tuition fees.

Starting Jan. 1, school fees at California community colleges dropped by 23 percent, from $26 to $20 per unit.

The fee decrease was approved this fall over concerns about falling enrollment in the state community college system.

"The governor, who himself is a California community college graduate, is supportive of our schools," Deanna Walston, Ohlone Community College's vice president of business, said.

"He wants to increase college access to California students, and I think that's part of what he wants to do when it comes to improving California's education system," she added.

Walston said that while fees will decrease, lost monies will not hurt Ohlone College, as the state as well as property tax revenues fund community colleges.

Enrollment at the state's 109 community colleges dropped from 1.16 million full-time students in 2002-2003, to 1.12 million in 2005-2006.

Fees rose from $11 to $26 per unit over the past three years.

While state enrollment at community colleges was on a slight decline, enrollment at Ohlone College was headed in the opposite direction.

Ron Travenick, Ohlone's associate vice president of student services, said a record number of students were enrolling at the institution.

According to a presentation given by Travenick at an Oct. 9 Ohlone College Board of Trustees meeting, enrollment was up 10.5 percent from the 2005 fall semester. A total of 3,296 full-time students attend Ohlone.

In addition, Travenick asserted that 29 percent of the school's 10,000 students were taking 12 units this fall.

Another 25 percent were taking 6.5 to 11.5 units, and 45 percent are less than part-time students.

According to Walston, decreased fees may entice current Ohlone students to take additional "leisure" classes such as art or physical education courses.

She said decreased fees may even persuade more people to begin enrolling at the college.

"This can only have an upside," Walston said. "Maybe a student will take an extra class. We won't see a significant jump in our enrollment, but anything that provides more access for our students, the college is very supportive of."

[ View Articles Index. ]