A recent report of Yuba College demographics, released by the college’s Education Master Plan project team noted that the Yuba College student body population has become increasingly younger. The report showed that Yuba College has seen an approximate 50 percent increase in students aged 18-21 over a four-year period, from Fall 1999 to Spring 2003.
At the end of Fall 1999, Yuba College had 2,402 students in the 18-21 year-old age range, which has steadily increased over the four-year period to 3,469 students at the end of Spring 2003. Students in the 18-21 year-old range now make up 33 percent of the total Yuba College student population as opposed to 23 percent of the total population in Fall 1999.
This means that it is becoming increasingly popular for high school seniors in this area to choose a community college over a California State University or a University of California directly after graduation. Area high school counselors have also seen a similar trend in the students they meet and advise.
Marysville High School Senior Counselor Wilma Lervis said, “Its all financial. It’s becoming so expensive for these kids to attend a UC or CSU and as the cost increase, more (students) are going to attend Yuba instead.”
Wheatland High School Counselor Patricia Agles, shared a similar point of view. “Community Colleges are becoming increasingly the best quality option for seniors straight from high school,” she said “It’s much cheaper, and you’ll be taking the same classes as you would be at a CSU of UC at the same quality of learning.”
Agles, who had two of her own children attend a community college from high school, continued, “In some ways, the classes at community college are of better quality than at a CSU or UC, because the classes are usually smaller.”
As reported in the July 16, 2003 Sacramento Business Journal, the CSU systems increased their student fees by 30 percent and the UC systems increase by 25 percent. The systems will both be considering further cuts and fee increases if budget situations do not improve.
This was the reason that Yuba College freshman, Maria D. Tinocl chose a community college directly from high school, over a CSU or UC. “Its so much cheaper at Yuba,” she said “Everything is so much more expensive at places like Chico or Sac.”
In addition, it is becoming increasingly difficult for graduating high school seniors to go directly to a CSU or UC system, as the schools are limiting freshman access. CSU systems’ first priority is given to resident undergraduate students transferring with 60 or more units, second priority to resident undergraduates with 30-56 units, third priority to all other transfer students and the fourth priority is given to graduating high school seniors entering as freshman.
Thus, many high school seniors may, of necessity, be attending Yuba College with the intention of transferring to a four-year college. The student demographic report reflected this, with the number of students wishing to transfer to a four-year university increasing by nine percent from Fall 1999 to Spring 2003.
While the report showed an increase in the 18-21 year-old age group, it also showed a decrease in the number of students in all other age groups above 21. The most significant drops occurred in all of the age groups above 36, with the largest drop in the 50 or greater age group. This groups went from having 992 students in Fall 1999 to 670 students in Spring 2003. The student demographic report stated that, “while the District is attracting considerably more students directly out of high school, it is also seeing fewer older, returning students.”
However, many of the returning students do not mind the younger population on campus, with some even finding it refreshing. Samantha Smith has been attending Yuba College since 2001 and has noticed that the average population on campus is becoming younger. “It doesn’t bother me that much that a lot of the people in my classes are younger than me,” she said “I am always open to being their friends and classmates.”
Smith continued, “It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, we are all here to get an education.”
Returning Yuba College student Brad Yancy said that the younger population did not affect his readiness to attend. He said, “The younger students seem to have a fresh energy that they bring to campus.”