LOS ANGELES — California's community colleges are reorienting their registration system to give priority to students who are focused on earning a degree or transferring to a four-year college.
The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that the governing board of the 112-college system on Monday voted in favor of the plan, which will go into effect in 2014.
Under the system, students in good academic standing who have not exceeded 100 units will be given priority to register for classes.
The policy comes as colleges are cutting class offerings due to budget reductions and students are finding it hard to get courses they need to complete their associates' degrees and either start their careers to transfer to earn a bachelor's degree.
It marks a shift in the orientation of community colleges, which have historically been places where failing students could repeat courses or community residents could easily take courses for personal enrichment.
"Now that colleges have had to cut back on the courses they can offer, those students were taking up seats in classrooms and crowding out newer students focused on job training, degree attainment or transfer," said Chancellor Jack Scott.
Implementation of the new policy will be delayed a year to allow students approaching the 100-unit cap to plan out their remaining course schedule and to give students on academic probation time to boost their grades.
The new policy was recommended earlier this year by the Student Success Task Force, which sought ways to make community colleges more effective.
Some opponents have said the new policy will put low-income students at a disadvantage because they are more unfamiliar with the college system.
But officials say community colleges can no longer afford to be all things to all people.
"This will place priority on students who are motivated and showing good progress above those who in some cases quite frankly are meandering through the system," Scott Himelstein, president of the community colleges board, told the Times.
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com