New course repeatability, drop-date rules to begin in summer
BOG waiver changes, priority registration on the horizon

Picture of Sac City Students in Classroom
In addition to the two new rules taking effect in the summer, the limit on semester unit totals starts in the fall 2012 semester. Felice Strong-Baker | norelectric2011@gmail.com
Matthew M. Joye | Staff Writer | mattmjoye@gmail.com

City College’s new course repeatability rule—also known as the “three-strikes” rule—and a new rule limiting the drop date for courses will debut this summer.

According to Kim Goff, director of Admissions and Records, the new repeatability policy imposes a three-attempt limit to pass a course. Any combination of three “D,” “F” or “W” grades would prohibit students from taking the course again at any Los Rios college, though some physical education courses are exempt.

Goff said the policy is also retroactive, meaning past coursework counts as a strike.
“The repeat policy is huge,” Goff said. “Five hundred people have been dropped already from classes for summer and fall under the policy.”

The new drop-date policy will change also. Up until now, two-weeks were allowed to drop a class without any notation in summer. Now, one week for summer courses will take effect. For fall and spring semesters, the previous five-week period will now be just two weeks.

This means that students accustomed to choosing to drop in the fourth week—after the results of their first test—may have far less feedback to inform their decision after just two weeks. Instructors also will have less time to assess drops and whether there is room to add students.

Students will need to be especially vigilant in dropping courses within the new shortened time period to avoid a “W” notation on their records, which could lead to the three-strikes rule down the road.

Goff said moving up the deadline is “hard for students and for faculty to grasp, [because] they’re used to having that time to figure out where they stand and what they’re going to do.”

“In the fall, it’s so crazy the first week,” said Goff, referring to students scrambling to add classes and get permission numbers.

The Faculty Senate is already assessing diagnostic processes to be implemented in the first two weeks of the semester to help students make informed choices about their chances at success, Goff explained.

“I think that fall is going to be an interesting semester,” said Goff. “We’ll have to do a lot of communicating with faculty and with students about that deadline, because that will impact the repeat [policy] as well.”

City College student ambassadors will be helping students thinking about registering for the fall semester in the Registration Lab in Business 153 all summer long. Information about financial aid and help finding classes for fall will also be available, Goff said.

“We want [students] to really understand that the choices they make are going to affect them in two years. Financial aid has changed. They won’t be able to take as many units here, and one [bad] semester can really get them in a hole they won’t be able to get out of,” Goff said.

In addition to the two new rules taking effect in the summer, limits on semester unit totals start in fall 2012. The Los Rios Community College District has set a districtwide cap of 18 units as the maximum a student can attempt per semester, according to Goff.

Changes to the Board of Governors (BOG) fee waiver and priority registration may be next.

“That would be huge here,” Goff said of the impact of potential changes to the BOG fee waiver. State Senate Bill 1456 would link the waiver to academic and progress standards, as well as educational planning services.

Changes to priority registration could come as soon as summer of 2013 and would likely factor in progress and academic standards, and move up the registration of incoming high school graduates. Goff said they often are at a disadvantage in finding classes and that it is a “severe problem.”

Then there is the biggest variable in the near future: how district funding and educational offerings will be affected by whether Gov. Jerry Brown’s bond measure is approved by voters this fall. Some California state universities have threatened to take no freshman admissions in fall of 2013 if the bond measure fails and more drastic cuts are necessary.

“It’s happened in the last couple years on a smaller scale,” Goff said of the potential surge of freshmen from the CSU system to the community colleges. “If [the bond measure] doesn’t pass, wow, we’ll be flooded with students and have less resources—and that’s not a good combination.”

For more on the three-strikes rule, go to http://www.scc.losrios.edu/Campus_News/Repeatability.htm


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