Education law undergoes change



California moves toward rewarding motivated students.

Responding to low transfer and college completion rates, legislators and education experts are moving to reconfigure the way community college students transfer and progress toward their educational goals. A key part of the plan places a cap on units and also allows students with an academic plan to move to the front of the line.

In the past, students with a large number of units but with no long-term career or transfer goals were given priority registration.

Beginning in 2014, the unit cap will affect those who have surpassed 100 accumulated units, not including math, English or English as a second language.

Students with the most units will no longer have priority registration.

New and continuing students who have undergone college orientation, assessment, and education plans and are in good academic standing will be allowed to register before most other students.

“Our mission is basic skill education, career degree and transfer. It’s really simple. That’s what we’re about. That’s the California community college core mission,” said Sara Lundquist, vice president of student services.

Priority is currently based on three tiers.

The first is statutory priority, which allows veterans, foster youth, EOPS and students with disabilities to register first.

The second tier is for matriculated students, or those “who have taken placement tests and come in with a specific academic career goal,” Lundquist said.

Under matriculation, students graduating from high school would be eligible for priority registration via Early Decision, a program designed to help graduating seniors navigate their way through college.

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The third tier is now for student who had not exceeded 100 units.

“In the past, community colleges have been able to serve everyone, and students could accrue a large number of units or do poorly in all of their courses and still receive registration,” former Chancellor of California Community Colleges Jack Scott said.

Each of the 72 college districts has the option of adopting exempting policies for students who have exceeded or reached the 100-unit cap.

Colleges will start notifying those who have exceeded 100 units by spring 2013.

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