An article by Kevin Carey at this site describes the deteriorating situation in higher education in California. Carey notes that there have been several articles that have focused on problems at the UC-Berkeley. Berkeley is at the top of a three layer system with the community colleges at the base the California State University and finally Berkeley at the top.
Carey admits that there are problems at Berkeley. The state share of the budget has gone from 47 per cent to 11 per cent since 1991. Within six years tuition has doubled. Classes often are oversubscribed. But even greater problems exist within other tiers of the system according to Carey.
About 30,000 students the top high school graduates go to the UC campus while about 50,000 enroll in the middle level California State University system. The rest, about 120,000, must go to community colleges. Most high school graduates are thus unable to directly enter a four year university program.
To complete a four year degree students from the community colleges must be able to transfer into the four year system usually California State. However Carey shows that the numbers transferring has been dropping over the last few years. Just 3 years ago California State took in 55,000 transfer students a year. Over two years this number dropped by 14,000. The cuts were not due to shrinking enrollments in the community colleges but because of shrinking budgets in the State system. Transfers have been made more difficult by raising GPA standards among other methods. While Obama makes higher education a priority budget cuts have made it impossible for about 12,000 students to even enter the four year system in California.
Some students have transferred to out of state institutions such as the University of Phoenix. Transfers to that university from the California community colleges have risen 300 per cent over the last ten years. Carey says things in the community college system are worst of all the tiers in the system.
While enrollment rose up until 2008-2009. after that there were severe budget cuts in the community college system. Enrollment plunged by 400,000 students just at a time when economic conditions made the system crucial for retraining and upgrading people. Carey claims that negative effects on California and the U.S. as a whole will be long lasting. For much more see the entire article.