Sunday, November 23, 2014
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High school grads to face narrow gate to community colleges

Deep cuts to state funding for community colleges could shut out hundreds of local high school graduates from classes at Antelope Valley College this fall.

If the state pursues an “all-cuts” budget scenario for the 2011-12 budget year that starts July 1, an estimated 1,494 June graduates hoping to attend AVC would be unable to enroll in classes.

Those 1,494 grads would join an estimated 618 high school grads from the class of 2010 who were shut out of AVC last fall, according to an analysis by Ted Younglove, director of the college’s Institutional Research and Planning Office.

“California’s community colleges have long been recognized as providing open access to higher education for Californians. Unfortunately, that door is closing on thousands of students due to the state budget cuts,” said Steve Standerfer, director of public and governmental relations.

The statistics don’t reflect other categories of students who have been shut out of AVC due to cutbacks.

AVC enjoyed a steady period of enrollment growth for several years, reaching a peak of 16,017 students in fall 2009. However, reductions in the number of course offerings resulted in an enrollment drop to 14,555 in fall 2010. At the same, time the number of students graduating from area high schools has been on a steady increase.

“By this past fall, we had an even higher number of graduates from the local districts and there was a noticeable drop in the number that came in,” said Younglove.

Younglove noted an average 52 percent of local high school graduates continue their education at AVC. With a conservative estimate of 4,670 June 2011 high school graduates, that indicates at least 2,428 would want to enroll at AVC.

Those likely to gain access are those that have taken part in AVC’s special orientation and assessment for high school seniors. Those that delay orientation and assessment will have difficulty in finding any open classes.

Statewide, the Community College League of California estimates that 417,000 students will be shut out of two-year colleges next school year if state leaders proceed with a worst-case budget scenario that would cut more than $1 billion from community colleges.