Crashing classes in an unfair system

Education, even at Community Colleges, gets more expensive every year and these new policies are frustrating and cost too much. Tuition is raised, financial aid limited, and the students keep asking themselves where the money is going. One would think that crashing classes is reserved for students who are unorganized and simply don’t prioritize their educational goals, or make sure that their schedule for the upcoming semester is right on track.

With the introduction of the no-payment-postponement policy, Santa Monica College dropped "2,853 students" from class rosters because they failed to pay their tuition fees by August 1st, according to Hannah Alford, Director of Institutional Research at SMC.

Students who like to shop around for classes every semester occupy class seats that would otherwise be available and are being forced to make up their minds by having to pay all at once. Some SMC students, like Chemistry major Florence Ekindi, took advantage of the new no-payment-postponement policy waiting until August 2nd to snatch some of the new reopened seats. Other students discovered that they had been dropped automatically by the system on the first day of the semester, causing anger and frustration among the student body.

Alexandra Tower, Environmental Biology Professor at SMC, told students trying to crash her class Monday morning that she had been advised to take a colleague with her for safety reasons.

What the new policy shows is that there are simply not enough sections offered.

It’s one thing if there are a couple of students who aren't able to get their desired classes that semester. It’s a different thing if there are 30 to 45 students on the waiting list for one Math 18 section and there aren't enough classes for these students to reopen a new section.

International students, who still weren’t affected by the new policy this semester, will face the same harsh reality in the spring of 2012, according to the International Education Center. While it might seem to be an easy task to come up with a couple of hundred dollars to pay for tuition, it's a completely different story when it costs a lot of money.

Each semester, international students are required to pay a lot more then their California counterparts. International students pay $275/unit compared to the $36 California residents are paying. What about students who are facing financial hardships who have already applied for work permits that allow them to work limited hours? According to the new deadline, what if they can’t come up with the money on time? This is just wrong.

In a message to the Corsair, Alford said that, "The Office of Admissions & Records sent out six different messages to students over the three weeks prior to the deadline reminding students about the deadline. The Office of Admissions & Records say that this is the lowest number of students dropped for a fall term."

One might also argue the case as to why international students would be required to provide transcripts in the first place for their first year of study at SMC?

Students are being forced to wait it out for their classes in the newly remodeled cafeteria eating overpriced salads and chatting it up with fellow students instead of learning. They are not doing this because they want to but because the have to and are just killing time until the next professor tells them the sad news: that the section they want to add is already full and they should try again next semester.

Santa Monica College shouldn’t neglect its current students. The new no-payment-postponement policy was supposed to bring more order and efficiency into the system, but the only thing that it has proved is that there is much more that needs be done.