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 PBS Newshour Features Community Colleges 

4/11/2012

Article: Will Some Community Members Be Booted From Community Colleges?

A hundred or so students made a ruckus recently at Santa Monica College, and -- unlike many student protests -- they achieved their goals. In the face of a noisy demonstration and disapproval from the state, the college administration backed down on tuition increases it had proposed, that would have boosted the cost per unit from $46 to $200 for some popular courses needed for graduation. Santa Monica, a community college, was alone in trying to implement what was called a two-tier system, which would have charged a premium for courses much in demand. That plan would have favored wealthier students, and hurt those who couldn't afford the premium -- in a system where cutbacks in funding have forced many colleges to drastically reduce course offerings. Students have been complaining more and more that they can't get the classes they need. Santa Monica thought it had a way to address that, but the opposition was too great.

Video: California Community Colleges Face Dilemmas Amid Tighter Budgets

Watch California Community Colleges Face Tighter Budgets on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

With 2.6 million students, California's community colleges make up the largest higher educational system in the country. Spencer Michels reports on the system's efforts to reshape its future as budget problems have forced the state to cut back support and tuition hikes have sparked student protests.

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