Community College Tuition Far Too Low

MAY 18, 2011


Across the state, California community college officials and student activists have been holding coordinated protests.  With the usual claimed victim status, they demand higher taxes to subsidize their academic fantasyland.

But these bureaucrats fail to tell the truth.  It’s the California community college STUDENTS (who benefit the most from the education) who should be paying more for their education — they’ve been over-subsidized long enough.

According to a March 2010 national tuition survey sponsored by Washington state, California has the lowest community college tuition and fees in the country.  Even with the increase in per credit tuition from $26 to $36, California community colleges still charge students the lowest tuition — students are paying about a third of the national community college tuition average.

Based on a 15 credit (five course) semester, 2009-10 California community college tuition and fees equaled $780.  Next lowest was New Mexico at $1,125.  Third lowest was North Carolina at $1,684.  National average was $3,029.  The highest state is New Hampshire which charges $6,262.  [see the attached chart from the study]

Adjusting for the new $36 per credit California community college fee increase, we find that CA community college cost rises to $1,080.  Even assuming a zero percent increase in student charges for the rest of the nation’s community colleges — a California community college tuition is still the lowest in the nation. See chart on page 8.

This ridiculously low tuition devalues education to students – resulting in a 30+% drop rate for class completion.  It gets worse.  A full two-thirds of California community college students pay no tuition at all – filling out a simple unverified “hardship” form that exempts them from any tuition payment, or receiving grants and tax credits for their full tuition.

On top of that, California offers thousands of absolutely free adult continuing education classes – a sop to the upper middle class.  In San Diego, over 1,400 classes for everything from baking pastries to ballroom dancing are offered totally taxpayer expense.

It’s time to end this madness. Raise student tuition to at least the national community college average. The last thing this recession-weary state needs is even higher taxes.

Related Articles

A California vs. Texas analysis that breaks the mold

The California vs. Texas fight has gotten stale for my tastes. It’s insanely annoying how so many California defenders simply

Nurse practitioner bill on life support in Assembly

SACRAMENTO – With Obamacare set to go into effect in January, state lawmakers anticipate millions of residents with newly obtained

Sympathy of state officials not enough for struggling cannabis industry

State officials, from Gov. Gavin Newsom on down, have been sympathetic to the struggles of California’s legal marijuana industry since