Governor Proposes Unit Price Increase for Fall 2011

Erik Ysea

With little to no signs of improvement in the economy the stereotype of the ramen eating, bike commuting, broke college student isn’t far off these days. Now, with the first glimpses of the proposed state budget hinting at the likelihood of an increase in unit prices, it seems this stereotype is only going to become more accurate.

In the last couple of years local colleges have seen an increase of tuition across the board, not only for Mesa College but also its surrounding universities. Couple this with the staggering unemployment rate which has led to an influx of transfers from more expensive colleges like San Diego State University, UC-San Diego and the University of San Diego and the widespread construction on campus causing a shortage of classrooms and we’re looking at a very chaotic future.
The present predicament promises a steady increase in enrollment and a matching decrease in class availability. This could soon mean acquiring classes at Mesa will be as competitive as at larger universities.

This just won’t do, the integrity of our junior educational system cannot be compromised as a quick fix to poor budgeting on the part of the state.

As if the current influx was not enough, in November, the board of UC Regents approved an eight-percent increase in tuition for UC students for the fall semester of 2011. In other words, come fall 2011 another wave of financially sterile students will likely be transferring to Mesa College while some Mesa students may be taking a semester off against their will, due to a lack of class space and basic financial means to pay for their classes.

The problem is that there exists a lack of assistance and general respect for our educational system by elected officials.

Politicians constantly reuse slogans like “education is key” or “the children are our future.” However, the increasing number of obstacles that students must face to continue their education may prove our officials, both in the educational and political systems, to believe otherwise.

As students and residents of California we have to make our voices heard; we need to go to board meetings and write elected officials. Our politicians deal with budget woes almost every day of the year, therefore the occasional rag-tag protest isn’t going to suffice without our constant attention to the problem at hand.

As the many social and financial burdens are piled on both the district and the community we can only expect a rise of tuition at the community college level. According to the San Diego Community College District Progress Plans for 2010-11, the price per unit was $5 during the spring semester of 1991 at Mesa College. Fast-forward to the spring semester of 2011 and the current price per unit is $26. That’s over a 400% increase in the span of 20 years, the last being a $6 addition in fall of 2010.

According to the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office, Governor Jerry Brown’s new budget proposal has introduced a $10 increase per unit in the California Community College system. Brown hopes this will raise funds without affecting financially exhausted students and institutional resources. But what is not being fully considered is the students who may not qualify for a Cal Grant or Board of Governor’s Grant.

The current generation of students is crucial to the future of our country and plays a vital role in rejuvenating one of the worst economies we’ve seen since The Great Depression. This fact cannot be ignored in order to temporarily resolve some
budgeting woes.

Assisting the continuing education of students should not be considered a disposable expense constantly held at the mercy of budget cuts. Students and members of the community must make this known; education is no longer an option but a necessity and must be treated accordingly.

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