Winter Session Cuts Hit SMC Students Hard, But Still Largest in State
With fewer classes offered at Santa Monica College, many students struggle to find the courses that they require. Reductions of classes have greatly impacted the student body.
Despite major budget cuts, SMC still offered winter session when some other colleges have been forced to eliminate winter semester classes completely.
SMC was the very first community college in the state of California to offer winter classes, according to Jeff Shimizu, vice president of academic affairs. This year, the down turning economy has led to fewer classes offered in comparison with previous semesters.
Students from other colleges chose to attend SMC this winter since many winter sessions from other schools were cut. While many students were trying to get classes, SMC students had highest priority this winter session.
"It was mostly SMC students that got classes." said Shimizu. "Students from other colleges came up and asked for classes, but we had to give first priority to SMC students."
SMC students experienced the limited class schedule when trying to crash classes. When crashing a class, the student simply shows up on the first day despite the class being listed as full on the school Web site. If there are extra seats in the class, or if the professor is willing to have a few students over the limit, the student receives an add code and can.
Freshman Chriselyn Palma, 20, nursing major, had trouble getting the classes she needed for the 2010 winter session. "I really needed Microbiology but I couldn't get into the class," Palma said. "I crashed five different classes. I could only get into one."
Being a freshman gives Palma the lowest priority enrollment date when signing up for classes. "When it was my turn to sign up there weren't any classes left." She said. "I had to crash to get the class I needed."
Many people chose to go back to school because they no longer have jobs, Palma believes. "It's a good thing they offer classes during winter, but there are just too many students. There are not enough classes for everyone," said Palma.
There were 330 classes offered during this years winter session. Over thirteen thousand students were enrolled, not including online classes, according to Shimizu.
That makes SMC the largest winter session in the state. Still, many students were left without classes.
With fewer classes, students are having trouble completing the units they need to receive a degree or transfer. Yoko Izaki, 22, Geography major, sophomore at SMC said that signing up in time is crucial. "You have to plan ahead. Sign up early and plan your next semester in time."
Students feel the impact of the cutbacks and reduced number of classes. For some students the possibility to transfer within two years decreased with the reduction of classes. "Many students progress was impacted by the reductions, no question," said Shimizu.