Assemblymember Das Williams’ Community College Access Bill Signed
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that allows six community college campuses to voluntarily launch a pilot program that offers summer and winter intersession courses for high-demand classes.
Brown signed Das Williams’ AB 955, which aims to increase the number of students transferring to CSU and UC schools. The six colleges included in the bill are: College of the Canyons, Crafton Hills College, Long Beach City College, Oxnard College, Pasadena City College and Solano Community College. Each community college in the pilot program has the option to participate.
“I am signing AB 955 which establishes a voluntary pilot program allowing a handful of California community colleges to offer high-demand courses during the summer and winter intersessions,” Brown wrote in his signing message. “This seems like a reasonable experiment. Why deny these campuses the opportunity to offer students access and financial assistance to courses not otherwise available?”
According to a March 2013 report by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), course offerings have declined from 420,000 to 334,000 since 2008—86,000 or 21% of course offerings—and most were credit courses necessary to transfer or obtain a degree or certificate.
Many colleges reach their enrollment capacity during the Fall and Spring terms and because, even with the passage of Prop. 30 there has not been enough state funding to increase course offerings, colleges are unable to offer courses during Summer and Winter intersessions.
“This lack of classes will turn away people who need these classes to develop the professional skills they need to qualify for high-paying jobs,” Williams said. “I am grateful that the governor has the vision to give this pilot program a chance.”
Colleges would be allowed to charge up to $200 per unit for the intersession classes, but could offer them for less through a partnership with a foundation, nonprofit, or business. As part of the pilot program, financial aid must be provided to low-income students who choose to take an extension course.