As students protest, is college tuition increasingly out of reach? (Video)
Jasmine Espinosa, a student at Santa Monica College, says she is okay now, still trying to sort through what happened. Last night police used pepper spray on a crowd of students congregated outside the door of a Board of Trustees meeting. The Board was voting on a proposal which has made headlines. The plan would charge higher tuition – from the current $39 to $180 – for each credit in the college’s most popular “core” classes during certain times of the year.
Though the headlines today focus on the student demonstrators, the administration and the use of tear gas by police, the larger, unresolved issue remains. Are the increasing tuition costs in community colleges around the nation threatening Latino gains in college enrollment?
“I know many Latino students who have told me they would have to drop out if the tuition credit prices are increased,” says Paul Alvarez, a Latino student journalist for The Corsair newspaper at Santa Monica College. Many of the 35,000 students at this southern California community college, Alvarez explains, come from low-income and immigrant Latino families. “Most of the students are commuters,” Alvarez adds, not from affluent Santa Monica.
Today Santa Monica College President Dr. Chui L. Tsang said in a written statement that the demonstrators are protesting a “summer session pilot program in which extra courses will be offered that will be self-funded” at a time when the University is facing “the greatest budget crisis ever to face higher education in California.”
Read the full story at NBC Latino