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Budget Cuts Cause New Registration Rules for Students

Continuing students lose priority in a registration shuffle that favors new students.

By Kevin Jersey | Staff Writer
On March 1, 2012

Due to statewide budget cuts, Valley College students will soon be subjected to new, stricter enrollment policies. In addition to limitations on how many times a class may be repeated, it will likely become more difficult to register for needed classes.

Starting July 1, new measures will be enacted, moving students through the system at an accelerated rate while continuing to help them meet the requirements necessary to receive a degree or transfer to a four-year school. The most noticeable of these changes will be the 100-point rule. In the past, students with the most credits have received priority registration. Under the modified rules, new students will be given priority, and students with 100 or more credits will be moved to the bottom of the list. Additionally, students that have exceeded this 100-credit threshold will no longer be eligible for financial aid.

"The message is from the state, ‘Sorry, the free ride is over' — not that it was ever a free ride. But, ‘the ride is more costly now, and we're going to send the costs your direction,'" said Valley President Sue Carleo.

Students enroll in community college for different reasons: some take classes to earn a degree or transfer to another school; others take classes for personal enjoyment or enrichment, without the goal of a degree. Since almost half of the 2.6 million students who attend California commu- nity colleges never complete their degree or transfer requirements, the students in the former group will now be prioritized over the latter.

Another change students will notice is the new limit on repeat- ing a class. Where in the past, students have been able to repeat a class as many times as needed to receive a passing grade, they will now be limited to three tries to pass.

"You'll have three chances to take a class. After that, if you haven't done it ... too bad. You're done," said Carleo.

This also affects students who withdraw from classes, but since community college funding is largely based on enrollment, the new rule makes things dif- ficult for the college too.

"Students are going to need to avoid any kind of a penalty — in other words, a ‘W' on your transcript, which then counts for your three tries," said Carleo. "You will have to drop before the census date. Otherwise, you get the ‘W' and we don't get paid for you, and it's like a double hit on both parties."

In order to help improve the efficiency in directing students toward meeting degree or transfer requirements, Valley has begun a project called Preparing All Students for Success, or PASS. The goal of this project is to determine how to best direct stu- dents through the community college system.

This effort is typical of Valley's staff, which remains dedicated to helping students as best it can, despite the continued limitations imposed by repeated budget cuts.

"We're doing a lot of that kind of work," said Carleo, "so that we can use every single dollar and every resource that we have more effectively toward helping students succeed."

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