Does it seem that there are fewer classes being offered at Yuba College? Have you tried to register for classes that you need to take for your major or to transfer, only to find those classes no longer available? Did you get annoyed and blame Yuba College for your misfortunes?
Well, here’s a heads-up for you: Yuba College’s trustees and administrators are not to blame. In fact, almost all of California’s community colleges have students in the same boat, and it’s all thanks to the ridiculously overspent budget plan of the state legislators.
If you can’t find that particular history class you need on the schedule next semester and want to place blame on someone, blame our very own state government. The truth really lies in the money.
Mike Dencavage, Assistant Superintendent and Vice President of Business Services, states, “Certainly it is a very strong issue that we want to be able to serve our students.” Unfortunately, with the state’s expected 21-billion dollar deficit, as determined by the legislative analyst for the 2003-2004 term, California community colleges no longer have the monetary incentive to encourage increased student enrollment.
This leaves Yuba College with no real push to offer more classes because there might not be enough state money coming in to pay for them. Governor Davis and the state legislature have imposed a “cap” on enrollment growth that will be funded by California.
As stated in the 2003-2004 Final Budget for the Yuba Community College District, “Each Community College has a unique growth cap determined by the adult population change and high school graduation rate.”
This growth cap is based on the population growth within the Yuba Community College multi-county district. The formula, however, does not consider the total increased enrollment at Yuba College.
For instance, for the 2002-2003 academic year, the Business Services office projects an average 5.34 percent increase in student enrollment, but based on the Chancellor’s Office estimate, the maximum that Yuba College will be funded is for a 3.85 percent increase.
The college will only receive as much money as the cap restricts: once the cap of enrollment students is reached, no extra money is available beyond that for expenses such as teachers, facilities’ maintenance and special programs.
As the 2003-2004 Yuba College budget also points out, “Although the Chancellor’s Office has assumed growth will be included in the final 2002-2003 State Budget, the amount available will not be sufficient for Yuba Community College District to meet the 2002-03 cap.”
If you try to use the argument that you are entitled to these classes because you are paying Yuba College for your education, you’re wrong again. Of the General Fund Revenues for Yuba College, student fees make up only 3 percent of the total. However, state apportionment and other state revenue make up a whopping 55 percent.
Dencavage points out, “Both the legislature and governor craft the income side budget, and we respond, trying to match our expenditures to the income that’s available.”
That basically means the number of classes offered and faculty hired will depend on what the state is willing to fund.
Politicians like Gray Davis and all the others who promised more emphasis on funding higher education during the elections this November should now be held accountable for their promises.
Unless you put a lot of stock in the promises of politicians, you might want to register as early as possible for the Spring semester. But then again, that too is out of our hands: first-time students have to wait until returning students register, and returning students are thrown into a lottery and randomly assigned a day by social security number.
For those who want to place blame, start writing letters to your state representatives, namely Governor Davis. Whining about Yuba College won’t change anything.