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Wednesday, September 16, 2009.

AVC expects to reduce 350-400 courses over 2009-10 academic year

Antelope Valley College students continue to experience fallout from the state’s budget crisis with planned reductions in the number of courses in addition to 30 percent fee hikes mandated by the state.

Students enrolling for fall semester courses should find the number of classes comparable to last year. However, by the time winter intersession classes begin in January 2010, students will find the number of course offerings cut by half. More reductions will follow in spring semester 2010.

The reductions were outlined by Ted Younglove, director of institutional research and planning, during a presentation at Monday night’s meeting of the college Board of Trustees.

Cuts are necessitated by the state’s fiscal crisis, which is expected to result in an estimated loss of $5.7 million to AVC during the 2009-10 fiscal year, although state legislators have yet to agree to a budget.

Younglove noted the district is trying to minimize the impact of the cuts on students. The administration will work to avoid eliminating courses needed for a student to earn a degree or certificate. However, some of the same course sections could be reduced. For instance, 10 sections of a course typically offered during a semester could be reduced to seven sections.

“Our students have been fortunate so far. We’ve been able to accommodate more students with the same number or fewer course sections,” said President Dr. Jackie L. Fisher Sr.

However, budget cuts are expected to cause Antelope Valley College to reduce course sections by 350-400 during the 2009-10 academic year, according to Fisher.

Fisher noted demand for college courses has skyrocketed as students have sought to acquire education and job skills in the midst of the economic recession.

The college district increased enrollment by the equivalent of 1,200 more full-time students than the state pays it for during the just-concluded 2008-09 academic year. California funds college enrollment to a set level, despite student demand. The college exceeded its enrollment cap due to students taking more classes and more students overall.

Fisher noted the district could only go so far to optimize efficiencies in student enrollment. Now the district will seek to bring its enrollment in line with state funding, which means serious budget cuts and course reductions.

Reductions to the number of courses offered at AVC will save the district an estimated $890,000 to $1.87 million, depending on variables such as the impact of student fee increases and numbers of students turned away from public four-year universities, according to Younglove.