Community college becomes first in the US to charge extra for in-demand classes


Students marched through London, protesting tuition hikes. Some pitched about 20 tents in Trafalgar Square.


Dan Kitwood

Tuition increases aren't just for students at four-year universities. A community college near Los Angeles approved a plan to charge extra for popular classes, the Los Angeles Times reported today. Santa Monica College is the first community college in the nation to approve such a plan. The Chancellor for California Community Colleges' office said that the plan may not comply with state education codes.

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Under the plan, the college would create a nonprofit foundation that offers in-demand classes, like English and math, at a higher price, the LA Times said. The non-profit will put a $200 per-unit price on those classes. Fees on all classes are currently $36 per unit. The more expensive classes would probably become available after the cheaper classes fill-up first. "It's creating a two-tiered system of wealthier students who can afford classes and struggling working-class and low-income students competing for the scraps of what's left," the student government president told the LA Times. 

The news comes after a Boston Herald investigation from last month revealed that community colleges in Massachusetts were increasingly hitting students with high fees, but at the same time also increasing executive salaries. The Herald found that total pay for community college presidents surpassed $2.8 million, even as the state plans to slash community college funding by $3.8 million.