State officials seek to implement a pilot program that would allow financially-capable students to pay non-resident tuition for transfer-level courses in the community college system.
Such a pilot program, which would end in 2018, would charge nearly as much as $200 per unit in winter and summer sessions for classes in transfer-level English, algebra and history. The program would target students ready to transfer, freeing up space during the spring and fall sessions, officials said.
The bill, AB 955, is awaiting the signature of Governor Jerry Brown.
Students and some education leaders don't exactly see eye to eye with Sacramento.
"I think this is the wrong direction to go. I think it's just another provision that requires the individual student to pay instead of the investment that California has traditionally made in higher education," said William Scroggins, president of Mount San Antonio College.
"The best solution would be for the state to increase its funding for access to higher education. I think a lot resent this as a trend to further transfer the cost of higher education to the public," Scroggins said.
The bill targets six specific colleges in the state, however, Mt. SAC will not be one of them, Scroggins said.
Community College Chancellor Bryce Harris denounced the pilot program, saying it would unravel promises of no new fees after the passage of Proposition 30.
The California Community College System educates the state's lowest-income students. Full-time students have an annual median income of $16,223, while one-fourth have incomes of less than $5,544 per yea, according to the Foundation for California Community Colleges.
Participation in the program is voluntary, but it remains to be seen which of those six colleges will implement the program, scheduled to begin in July 2014.