SANTA MONICA (CBS) — Will struggling students pay a premium to have access to the courses they need to graduate?
KNX 1070's Pete Demetriou reports that's the question some local community colleges are asking as they explore different options on how to reduce the pain of statewide budget cuts.
At schools like Santa Monica College — which was forced to slash 1,000 course sections in core programs such as math and English — two-tier tuition pricing under Open Enrollment Contract Education (OECE) may be one alternative for students.
"If they can't get into classes, [students] can pay higher fees and hopefully get into the class that they want," said SMC spokesman Bruce Smith.
Under OECE, courses that were traditionally priced at $46 per unit would now be as high as over $200 per unit — a price some students said was worth every penny.
"I will pay because I want to finish this school as soon as possible," said student Mia.
Still others said the system would be unlikely to change their long-term educational strategies, with some critics questioning whether a two-tiered system is even legal under the California education code.
"We shouldn't have to pay extra money to be in a class immediately," said Paul Cezer. "I would just wait and take it the next semester."
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