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Due to the decline of state funding, California’s Santa Monica College plans to start offering in-demand classes at quadruple the original price.
Santa Monica College, one of California’s biggest community colleges, will start a nonprofit foundation to offer core classes for $600 each. The foundation was already approved by the board of trustees last week and will be put into action starting this summer. The program will be offered in addition to regular courses, currently $108 each, but prices are expected to increase up to $138 per course this summer.
The decision to raise prices on certain classes has raised questions about whether two tiers of students will be created within a system designed to make education accessible to everyone. Some are asking if the change is even legal.
“It’s a change in what has historically been the character of community colleges in California,” said Patrick Callan, president of the Higher Education Policy Institute. He continued, “It says there’s one kind of education in California for those with financial resources and another for those without, but I understand the pressure they’re under. There’s no good answer.”
Community colleges across California have lost over $809 million in state funding over the past three years, causing school to decline the enrollment of almost 200,000 students.