Budget Woes Make Transfering Tougher

El Vaquero Staff Writer

Community college students are facing another blow from California’s severe budget crisis.

Many state universities have decided to limit the number of students they will admit for fall 2004, and some have even stopped accepting transfers for the winter quarter.

In a press release by the University of California Office of the President, UC President Richard C. Atkinson said, “We have tried to find other ways of coping with the budget cuts, but we have reached a point where the educational experience at the University of California will be severely compromised if we continue to grow without funding to support new students.”

UC funding was cut by $410 million in July and universities will not receive funding for enrollment growth in 2004-05.

“We know our applicants have worked very hard to be eligible to attend UC, and they deserve to attend UC’s. We deeply regret having to delay their plans,” said Atkinson.

The University of California was unable to consider the applications of 1,500 community college transfer students seeking winter admission because of the deep cuts to its 2003-04 budget.

Students who had their winter applications returned will now have to wait until fall 2004 to transfer.

While UC Berkeley did not accept any winter applications, UC Davis and UC San Diego only accepted applications from students with transfer guarantees. UCLA only accepted applications from engineering students.

Though these changes were made prior to the state budget appropriation in July, Transfer Center Coordinator Sarkis Ghazarian believes they are only exacerbated by the enrollment freeze now taking place with many of the state universities.

UC Riverside has usually extended fall application deadlines to the winter, but has now set the deadline at Nov. 30, the same deadline for all CSU’s and UC’s.

According to Ghazarian, GCC students will face even more challenges within the next year.

“More students are graduating from high schools [than in the past] and will probably attend community colleges as a result of the enrollment freeze being imposed by many [state] universities,” said Ghazarian. “This will only add to the current dilemma GCC is facing.”

Ghazarian said that the crisis is so severe statewide that Cal State Northridge is on the verge of being designated as an impacted school. Though CSUN traditionally had lower enrollment numbers since the 1994 Northridge earthquake, it has now reached its capacity.

GCC students already experienced a rough beginning for 2003-04 when many part-time instructors were laid off and more than 500 classes were cut from the fall schedule. With fewer classes and a rapidly increasing student population, students will face an even more difficulty finding open classes.

The Transfer Center recommends that students should prepare early by completing all math and English requirements during their first year at GCC. Students are also advised to plan their coursework in advance and to take courses that double-count. Many courses under the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) also count as courses that many universities require for different majors.

For instance, students majoring in mathematics will not only have to take a three unit math course under IGETC, but may also have to take several other math classes for their major. If applicable, the course that was taken under IGETC may also count toward their major. Ghazarian said that such organization will minimize the time students will have to spend at GCC.

Students are also advised to apply to as many schools as possible to increase their chances of admission. “Students who are accepted to several schools will be the ones doing the choosing,”said Ghazarian. “These students have the opportunity to choose the school they want to attend, rather than hoping to be admitted to the only school they applied to.”

Ghazarian, who is also a counselor in the Transfer Center, believes that students should make state legislators aware of the impact the budget crisis is having on their education.

“Students don’t realize that they’re a special interest group that hasn’t flexed its muscles yet,”said Ghazarian. “Students are an important part of our society.”