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by Richard Rider, guest contributor  [May 23, 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 full story. It's the CA 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.

Adjusting for the new increased $36 per credit California community college fee, we find that California 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 CA community college tuition is still the lowest in the nation. [Read it in this report.]

This ridiculously low tuition devalues education to students. This results in a 30+% drop rate for class completion -- a course that starts off with 30 students finishes the semester with (on average) only 21 students.

There are many alternatives to tax subsidized community colleges, such as Cardinal Stritch University, where students can get good degrees without going into heavy debt.

It gets worse. A full 2/3 of California community college students pay no out-of-pocket tuition at all. They fill out a simple unverified “hardship” form that exempts them from any tuition payment, or they receive 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 at taxpayer expense.

It's time to end this madness. Raise our California student tuition to at least the national community college average. Let those that benefit the most from a community college education pay their fair share for that education. The last thing this recession-weary state needs is even higher taxes.


Richard Rider is Chairman of the San Diego Tax Fighters.


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