Higher education under siege


Governor Jerry Brown sitting at a podium with speaker and hands in his paper and some statical charts displayed behind him.NEWS ANALYSIS: State budget cuts restrict transfers.

HIKE: About $200 million in cuts loom if proposal fails.

“Counselors advised students how to plan for a spring transfer. Now students are faced with not transferring.” — Martha Vargas (Santa Ana College Transfer Center Director)

California State University admissions for the 2013 spring semester could be off limits as part of a cost cutting strategy to decrease enrollment by about 16,000 students by next year, officials said.

Text and logs indicating CSUS still accepting are Cal-State-u-Fullerton, Cal-State-U-Sonoma, and Cal-State-U-Los-Angeles.The plan would restrict entry to 15 colleges, leaving eight campuses available for SB 1440 students, who by law are granted transfer to a California State University, said CSU Assistant Vice Chancellor for Budget Robert Turnage.

Enacted in 2010, the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act requires community colleges to grant an associate degree to transfer students once they have met specific general education and other requirements for the degree.

Among the requirements is the completion of at least 18 units with an emphasis in a major; 60 semester units or 90 quarter units of coursework in transferrable classes including general education; and a minimum grade point average of 2.0.

Santa Ana College freshman Samuel Sanchez said he plans to transfer in 2013, and can feel the sting of the latest cuts.

“They are making it like a funnel. It’s going to be tough educationwise…it’s a lose-lose situation, there’s no win for us,” he said.

Transfer Center Director Martha Vargas said she is concerned about how this may effect SAC as an academic community.

“It’s impossible to keep up with constant changes. Just a month ago, we were told by Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Long Beach that they were accepting students this coming spring,” she said. “Counselors then advised students how to plan for a spring transfer. Now students are faced with not transferring.”

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Among the available CSUs for students to transfer to under the new plan are San Francisco, Fullerton, East Bay, Sonoma, Channel Islands, Chico, Los Angeles and San Bernardino campuses.

The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office estimates that several hundred thousand students have been turned away in recent years as a result of about $800 million in budget cuts since 2008-09, forcing schools to eliminate thousands of classes.

“Enrollment across our system is above the level that it needs to be even after the $750 million cut we took,” Turnage said.

“We have to bring those numbers down.”

More cuts loom on the horizon for California’s beleaguered higher education system if voters reject Gov. Jerry Brown’s newly proposed tax measure, which has not yet qualified for the November ballot.

The measure would raise both sales taxes by a quarter-cent and income taxes on those making $250,000 a year or more.

Another 20,000 to 25,000 students could be barred from transferring to a CSU for the 2013-14 academic year.

If the initiative fails, the CSU system would cut $200 million more in funding.

“It’s something that’s going to affect thousands of students and it’s not the direction we want our system and higher education in California going in,” said California State Student Association President Gregory Washington.

“Students are given a set of guidelines and goals when they’re in high school telling them what they need to do to go to college and now our state isn’t acknowledging that anymore,” he said.

In a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll conducted last month, 64 percent of Californians said they favored the governor’s plan.

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