LAO: raise community college fees

The Legislative Analyst is proposing that the Legislature raise fees at community colleges by $14 per credit – more than 50 percent from the current $26 per credit (which, in turn was raised last year from $20). It sounds like a whopper, but many  students wouldn’t pay it because of fee waivers for low-income families and new federal income tax credits for the middle class. However, the increase would provide $150 million to the system at a time when enrollments statewide have been falling because many colleges have significantly cut the number of sections they’ve been offering, shutting students out of courses that they need.

Even at $40 – $1,200 for a student taking a fulltime load of 30 credits – fees would remain the lowest in America.

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UC students need a teach-in on California’s budget mess

(The Mercury News published this column on  Sunday’s editorial page.)

Two voices called out when I heard that dozens of students on University of California campuses had been arrested for occupying college buildings in protest of the 32 percent fee increase that UC regents had passed.

One was that of the indignant college sophomore who was hauled off to the city jail in Boston in 1970 after refusing to leave the plaza at Government Center during a Vietnam War protest. The other was that of my disbelieving father who asked, “You were taken where for doing what?”

I am the age my dad was then and closer in sensibility to him now than to the youth I once was. I also have a daughter who’s a freshman at UC-Davis and, much to my relief, was busy studying calculus when others took over Mrak Hall.

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