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California Community Colleges Likely To Prioritize Student Enrollment Because Of Budget Cuts

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Recessionary budget cuts are changing the meaning of community colleges in California.

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors has decided that due to economic hardships, they must prioritize community college attendance.

First year students, as well as those on track to meet their educational goals, will be given top priority. Those in active duty military, veterans, and students from historically low income backgrounds will also receive enrollment priority.

Students will not be able to repeat recreational courses as they were allowed to do in the past. Come registration, priority will be given to students who need a course to complete their core area of study over students who wish to take a class for fun.

The chancellor of the 122 community colleges, Jack Scott, spoke on the recent change.

"The state has lowered our resources,” he said in an interview with Central Coast News. “We are no longer able to serve everybody we would like to serve. We've had to decrease our enrollment by over ten percent. And so naturally under those circumstances we have to prioritize enrollment. Who are the most deserving students? Who are the ones who deserve to be what we might call first in line."

The decision to prioritize students comes after a series of other mandatory cuts. Already thousands of classes have been cancelled, and enrollment has decreased under 10 percent.

The board will vote in September, and new rules would be implemented in 2014.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that students cannot take courses for fun. They can, but priority at the time of registration is given to students who need the class to fulfill a core requirement.

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