Santa Rosa Junior College's population is shrinking, and so is its patience for students who repeatedly take the same class.
The school again is reducing its offerings next year, planning to eliminate 370 sections in a budget-cutting move that could reduce the student body and make it harder to enroll in the most popular subjects.
Other changes, however, may shut out scores of SRJC students from even those courses that do have ample space.
SRJC recently sent out emails notifying students of a new state policy prohibiting them from taking the same class more than three times even counting times they withdrew and received a W on the their transcript rather than a grade.
“Basically what the state is saying is, ‘We can't keep funding students who keep dropping out and taking seats from other students,'” said Freyja Pereira, SRJC's director of academic records.
The old rules limited students who fail or receive a D from endlessly repeating a class. The new policy, which kicks in this summer, extends the restriction to W's that go on a transcript when a student drops a class after the fourth week.
Students who drop classes before that threshold do not receive a W and are unaffected by the new rule.
“It will have an effect because people bail out of classes pretty easily around here,” Counselor Greg Sheldon said.
The change, though, also stands to impact students who fall victims to unexpected challenges.
Mykela Kray twice had to withdraw from zoology after battling exhaustion caused by chronic pain syndrome. As a biochemistry student, the 21-year-old needs the class.
“If something happens to me next time I try to take it, something that's not my fault, that I didn't do on purpose and that I have no control over, I would have to take it at a different school,” Kray said. “I think it's a little harsh.”
Up to 1,258 current SRJC students have already exhausted their limits in at least one class under the new policy.