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GCC eliminates winter classes

The college, hit by state education cuts, is not offering the six-week session for the first time in a decade.

January 07, 2012|By Megan O'Neil megan.oneil@latimes.com
  • Students walk between classes at Glendale Community College. The college is not offering winter classes for the first time in a decade. (Fire photo)
Students walk between classes at Glendale Community…

January traditionally is a busy time at Glendale Community College, with students returning from the holiday break for an intensive six-week winter session designed to help them earn credit and accelerate their studies.

But the campus will remain mostly quiet this month after officials eliminated winter classes as a cost-saving measure amid ongoing state cuts to education funding. It is the first time Glendale Community College has not offered the session since it was introduced in 2002.

Classes will resume with the start of the spring semester on Feb. 13.

“There are students on campus, but significantly fewer when compared to this time last year,” President/Supt. Dawn Lindsay said. “I have seen new students in the admissions line as many realize the earlier they get enrolled and through the matriculation process, the sooner they will be able to register for spring.”

The Glendale campus has plenty of company. According to a survey conducted last year by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, 24% of college districts that responded said they had eliminated their 2012 winter session entirely. Another 24% said they significantly reduced the number of winter session classes offered.

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Summer session and winter session traditionally have been when students would make up courses that they couldn’t get in the fall and spring semesters, said Paige Marlatt Dorr, director of communications with the Chancellor’s Office.

But after absorbing more than $500 million in cuts this year alone, colleges are being forced to scale down enrollment by reducing the number of core sections they offer.

During the 2010-11 school year, enrollment in California community colleges stood at 2.6 million students, Dorr said, compared to 2.9 million students in 2008-2009. The dip has nothing to do with demand, and everything to do with students being turned away, she said.

“Really, what is happening with higher education in California [ is that it] is being rationed,” Dorr said. “The colleges are having to make difficult decisions when they are receiving cuts.”

That’s a concern for students like Travis Smith, who said that he was able to get into only one class at Glendale Community College last semester.

“I could have taken so much more and been so much farther ahead,” Smith, 18, said.

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