Community colleges one-stop shops

Monarchs didn’t know they had it so good.

By Melinda Henricks, Staff Writer

California Community Colleges comprise the most cost-effective system of education in California.

While the state revenue needed to support one community college full-time student is slightly more than $5,000 per year, that same student costs approximately $7,500 in the K-12 system and $20,000 and $11,000, respectively, at UC and CSU. (figures released by the California Community College Chancellors Office).

Community colleges offer education, employment strategies and opportunities for everyone in the community. Therefore, we must support them. Serious funding issues due to the loss of Prop. 21 monies(state property taxes)have had far reaching effects and those funds need to be updated and replaced to meet the current needs of students and the community.

Additionally, the structure of education must change to meet the needs of an evolving employment market. Around 25 percent of community college students use the two-year schools to complete general education requirements and transfer to a university. Certificate programs are more targeted toward a specific employment goal and do not require a four-year degree.Therefore, online classes, certificate programs, two-year degrees, and community resources are essential. Students choose a course of study that fits their needs. All of the above services fall under the community college umbrella as well as counseling and employment resources.

We must continue to add classes and programs at community colleges. This will help provide equal access to all students regardless of their financial restrictions.

Community colleges offer students financial aid at no or low cost and work within the community to provide jobs. Locally, there are many mentoring and apprenticeship programs available. The US Department of Education reports there are over 400,000 registered mentor and apprenticeship programs. Counselors are trained professionals and will help students streamline their goals.

It is time to recognize that community colleges are one of our greatest assets. Students will save money, have better employment opportunities, and build ties within the community through a community-college education.

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