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SRJC Shifts Enrollment Focus on Students Headed to 4-Year Schools

Change in mission has some worried about reduced class options for part-time students or those still exploring which degree to pursue

Santa Rosa Junior College students seeking to transfer to a four-year school and those working toward a certificate or degree will be given priority when it comes to enrollment in classes, according to the Press Democrat.

The changes are the result of budget cuts that have frozen teacher positions and reduced class offerings and were recommended by a statewide task force earlier this year. 

Funding for California junior colleges has been reduced by $809 million since 2008, forcing them to eliminate classes and constrict enrollment. 

"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 priority registration," Jack Scott, Santa Rosa Junior College Chancellor told the Press Democrat.

"Now that colleges have had to cut back on the courses they can offer, those students were taking up seats in classrooms and crowding out newer students focused on job training, degree attainment or transfer."

The junior college has traditionally served a dual role as a place where students could accrue credits before transferring to a four-year school as well as take enrichment classes in everything from dance to Spanish to literature.

With the shift, some  are worried about impacts on students who are still exploring what degree they want to pursue and may not have a concrete study plan.

"On the one hand, I think it gives them a map and a sense of direction," said SRJC teacher Anne Marie Insull told the Press Democrat. "But it is kind of good to just be here, and that is the worrying aspect. Not everyone has a plan, and sometimes college is a place to figure things out."

Click here to read the full Press Democrat article

Bill Fishman September 14, 2012 at 04:21 PM
SRJC used to partner with local businesses to train people for local jobs in a two-year program. Do they still do that? I hope that the move to emphasize being a feeder for 4-year degree programs does not cut into SRJC's commitment to provide vocational programs that are needed right here in Sonoma County: automotive and diesel mechanics, engineering technology, dental hygiene, nursing, culinary arts, viticulture and enology, to name a few. Incidentally, my career as an attorney is greatly enhanced by the fact that I went through SRJC's Civil Engineering Technology program in the '60s and worked as a surveyor for a few years afterward. A first career is both good training AND good motivation for later degree aspirations.

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