The California Community Colleges Board of Governors ratified a new law called Course Repetition and Withdrawals, which will take effect in summer 2012 and affects current Glendale College students who want to repeat a credit course.
Rick Perez, vice president of student services, said students need to know that the rules have changed and they must weigh their options.
“How can I make myself successful at GCC with the new rules? It’s managing your time, good study habits, [and] not working so many hours. They have to look at their load.”
The changes to the Title five regulations occurred in July 2011. It is also known as the “3 + 1” law and deals with course repetition for substandard grades and withdrawals or any combination of them. A substandard grade is considered a D, F and No Pass.
This law came about because of budget cuts, not enough classes being offered for students, and increased enrollment in community colleges. Additionally, there was an examination of state policies to allow as many students as possible the chance to attend classes.
“Are [students who get substandard grades] better suited in the classroom to take those seats or someone who is more motivated, even new students who are more motivated, to take those seats in the class?
motivated, to take those seats in the class? The way the board of governors is looking at it is ‘Enough is enough.’ We need to make sure we give a student a chance, but it’s only three times,” Perez said.
The new regulation states that students can only take the same credit course three times at the same college.
However, students who receive two substandard grades in the same credit course and want to enroll for the third time will have to submit a petition to the department chair. A formal name has yet to be determined for the petition, but for now it is referred to as the Two Substandard Grades petition.
Perez gave an example of how this works.
If John Doe received a D and an F in a credit class, such as math, he cannot take the class again. He would have to fill out the petition form and take it to the math department chair for consultation and permission to take the class again for a third time.
If the student still receives a D, F, NP or W after three attempts in the same class at GCC, the student will have to go to another college to take the class.
GCC might allow a student who wants to take the class for the fourth time, but he or she must fill out a different type of petition. There is no formal name for that petition yet, but it is tentatively called the “3 + 1” petition, Perez said.
However, the student must show “documented extenuating circumstances such as flood, fire, or other extraordinary conditions beyond his control.”
“It’s not ‘Oh yeah, I couldn’t go [to class] because I got into a car accident.’ Well, show me the police report. Show me pictures of the car. ‘I couldn’t go because I had a medical condition, and I was out for two weeks and that’s why I got a D.’ Well, show me the doctor’s note,” Perez said.
He recommends that students meet with their academic counselor to discuss any course repetitions and academic schedule. Counselors are working with students to make sure they reconsider whether to drop a class or work harder to get a C or better in the class.
“I think it will make students be more serious about their academic plan,” Perez said. “It will make them, I hope, meet with an academic counselor. The resources are there to support them whether it is counseling, tutoring or financial aid.”
Additionally, there is tutoring available to students at the Math Discovery Center and the Learning Center.
Jeanette Stirdivant, division chair of student services and a counselor, said she does not see any problem with this new regulation because it is going to affect only some students adversely.
“The whole goal is to get people to go through with it,” Stirdivant said. “I really believe this was not meant to be punitive. It is going to be punitive to a few, but it is meant to help a vast majority.”
She believes the state is not willing to pay for students to take a class more than three times because they are taking up the seats of someone else.
“I think the state is trying to tell students to get the classes and get in so they can transfer or get to work,” she said.
Meng-Io Kuan, an international student thinking about majoring in accounting, said this was his first time hearing about the new law.
“This is a good regulation because if the person fails the class for the third time, then obviously the person doesn’t care about the course. He is wasting the state’s and the college’s money. But most importantly, other students’ chances [to enroll] in the class.”
He feels that students can avoid repeating classes by attending classes, studying harder and submitting homework on time.
Arusik Stepanian, architecture major, added that the new regulations will be beneficial to the students.
“I will do my best to pass the classes and learn more,” she said. “It forces students to study more and spend time on their classes. If a student doesn’t want to study, then it won’t change him or her.”
Stepanian does not know anyone personally who falls under the categories. From her experience, many students in her anthropology class who dropped the course in the middle of the semester received a W. She has always heard that the goal for transferring is between two to three years.
“I think they are wasting time,” she said. “If the student retakes the class, then it would take longer to transfer.”
Stirdivant suggested that students make school a priority and to study and pass the class the first time.
“I think the biggest mistake that students make is they take too many units and work and there’s no way you can do it all,” she said.
In the spring, Perez will be working with a task force which will include the director of admissions and records, dean of counseling and department chairs including Stirdivant in revising the petition forms so students can begin using them in summer 2012.
All community colleges have until April 2012 to inform students about the changes and make the corrections in their publications. The new information has been posted on the GCC homepage along with a link to see more detailed information at http://glendale.edu/index.aspx?page=2109&recordid=1046.
The information will be added to the college catalog and to the spring 2012 class schedule online.