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Community college fee rising to $46 per unit

December 18, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Community college tuition in California is going up $10 to $46 a unit in May 2012 to offset a $100 million mid-year budget cut from the state.

Full-time students taking 15 units will pay $150 more a semester.

The increase comes after students saw their tuition go up $10 a unit this fall semester.

The news leaves students wondering how they're going to come up with the money.

"I have to see what I can do," said student Joshua Chadwick. "My parents have stepped in more than they used to, which I hate. I'm almost 26. I hate having to go to my parents for money."

The latest $10 fee hike, though, only offsets 1/3 of the $100 million cut.

California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott says many campuses will lose faculty and offer fewer classes.

Student Aundreia Shappelle says community college is now a 4- to 5-year plan.

"The first day of class we have people sitting on the floors, waiting in the halls, praying to get into classes and half of us don't get in," Shappelle said. "You have to push your graduation date even further now."

But the Brown administration points out that while California will lose its distinction as the least-costly community college system in the country, it's still a deal.

"Of the 50 states, even with this $10 increase, we will be No. 49," said H.D. Palmer of the California Finance Department. "Only the state of New Mexico will be lower than California."

Still, some California State University transfer students say community college needs to be cheaper in order to be able to attend a four-year college.

"I've only been at (Sacramento) State for two years. I have $20,000 in student loans. So had that been twice that, there's no way I could have gone without community college," said student Nora Walker.

Fifty-six percent of community college students received tuition waivers for being low income last year. The chancellor's office predicts that could jump to as much as 70% with the $10 fee increase.

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