Our View: LBCC pilot program could help students graduate on time
Long Beach Community College is moving forward with a controversial pilot program that charges students more for high-demand courses.
According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, LBCC will begin offering high-demand courses, like introduction to business and energy for the future, for higher rates this winter.
Normally, the average LBCC student pays $46 per unit. The tuition fee is partially subsidized by the state, according to the Press-Telegram.
For the upcoming winter session, however, LBCC will charge $225 per unit for resident students and $265 per unit for nonresidents, according to the Press-Telegram.
Students who qualify for a fee waiver will pay only $90 per unit for impacted classes.
The increase in unit prices specifically apply to courses that transfer to the Cal State University and University of California campuses.
Because the demand for these transferable courses is so great, we support LBCC for giving students the opportunity to pay extra for them during the upcoming winter session.
According to the Press-Telegram, the pilot program was launched by State Assemblyman Das Williams, (D-Santa Barbara) as a way to let students take high-demand courses that oftentimes fill quickly in the fall and spring semesters.
While the program has drawn much criticism, we think it could benefit many LBCC students.
As we know here at Cal State Long Beach, the biggest thing holding back many students is the availability of classes.
Too often, courses that students need in community colleges are severely impacted. Without additional course offerings, students have a difficult time catching up.
Giving students who have the means to pay more for classes they need could help them transfer to a CSU or UC campus sooner. It could also alleviate many impacted courses.
While we are eager to see if the pilot program succeeds, though, we do have one major concern.
We like giving students more options, but we are afraid the pilot program could turn into a two-tiered system that favors students with more money.
Students who can’t qualify for the $90 per unit fee waiver could still be affected by such a high unit cost.
For the time being, students who participate in the program will have to shoulder the full burden of subsidizing their education.
We hope, though, that these prices don’t become a standard. We don’t want to see LBCC raise its unit costs for impacted courses in the fall and spring semesters.
Community colleges should continue to remain affordable for all California residents.