Intersession courses will be cancelled for the second consecutive year in the Yuba Community College District. With no way to make up units or bump their GPA’s, some students who hope to graduate or transfer after the fall will be left spending another semester here instead.
In fact, students this semester are already concerned about the cancellation. Because fewer courses are available due to cutbacks last year, many students unable to get into classes will end up waiting for spring.
“I can’t graduate now because I can’t get the necessary humanities course,” said Mariah Perez, a student at Yuba College.
Maryam Powers, another student, said, “I needed to take History-15 but was unable to, so I can’t get my transfer units; ergo I can’t graduate.”
Paul Mendoza, Vice President of Student Services, said, “The intersession was a time to let the students get ahead or get started early on their units.”
No intersession also means students no longer have the option of using intersession to help lighten their course-loads for fall and spring. Some students regret losing this opportunity.
“Now I can’t take the classes I wanted for spring because I didn’t want to load up on units,” said Yuba College student Ravneet Sra.
Despite students’ concerns, the district administration sees intersession as a necessary cutback. The district initially decided to cut intersession in fall 2002 in the wake of the budget crisis and Governor Gray Davis’s massive budget cuts. At that time, YCCD Vice President of Business Services Michael Dencavage predicted the district could save about $50,000 by eliminating intersession.
David Ferrell, Dean of Student Development on the Marysville campus, said that given the circumstances, the priority should be to protect regular semester courses, not intersession.
“We have to make cuts somewhere,” Ferrell said. “I’d rather see more semester courses available in the spring than in intersession.”
Ferrell also said that students were handling the cut better this year than last because they had more warning. Students did not find out intersession was cancelled until December in 2002.
The YCCD District Council, a college committee that works in conjunction with President Nicki Harrington’s Executive Staff on district-wide decisions, has shown little resistance to the cancellation. David Rubiales, a faculty member on the District Council, supported the cut. “Intersession was sort of a luxury,” he said.
“In my opinion that decision made sense, in terms of-well, dollars and cents,” Rubiales continued. “But of course the students might not see it that way.”
Steve Klein, another District Council member, said that, while he had no particular opinion on the cut, he thought last year’s results were good.
“Financially we came out even because enrollment picked up in the spring,” Klein said. “The managers who made the decision have predicted we will have enough enrollment in spring and fall to cover us.”
Paul Mendoza said the Monday Morning Report released by the Office of Research and Assessment on September 12 indicates that headcounts for the district are lower than had been predicted. Headcount is one factor in determining enrollment, and therefore it also affects funding. However, Mendoza said the results of the report are as yet inconclusive. “We should know the real numbers by the first or second week of January,” he said.
Klein added that as a district representative, he would like the opportunity to reconsider intersession if enough students showed they needed it.
Paul Mendoza said, “When we look at intersession we will consider how much need is expressed by the students and what services they want.”
Recently added to the District Coucil is a student representative, Monica Kurowski, who is also President of the ASYC. The DC meeting held September 23 was the first meeting Kurowski had a chance to attend.
When intersession was available, many students took advantage of the course offerings. According to a report by the YCCD Office of Research and Assessment, 1,215 students were enrolled in classes district-wide by the end of intersession in 2002. In another report, the office shows that 10,965 students were enrolled district-wide by the end of Fall 2001. Thus, the enrollment in 2002 intersession equaled about 11 percent of the enrollment for the previous semester.
In August, the President’s Executive Staff, in cooperation with the District Council, reviewed the estimated number of Full-Time Equivalent Students (a major factor in college revenues) and decided not to resume intersession. Students might enjoy the opportunity for intersession courses, but the district is under fiscal pressure to keep intersession “cancelled until further notice”.