…Over two decades, the percentage of such students has more than doubled, from about 2.2% in 1992 to about 5.2% in 2011. Last fall, about 69,665 students attended two schools, nearly 5,000 went to three schools and about 400 to four or five schools, according to data from the California Community Colleges chancellor’s office. (The numbers include students who take online classes; officials are unsure how many are in that category.)
Most two-year colleges have also eliminated winter and summer sessions, further reducing the availability of classes students need to earn a degree or transfer to a four-year university. Some high-demand classes are offered only once during the academic year, leaving students with a stark choice: Wait and delay their education or shop around and find the course elsewhere.
Some college administrators say students taking classes at multiple campuses are displacing local students. Those officials are considering ways to curb the practice, such as giving local students priority enrollment for a period of time.
Colleges are in a tough spot, having to manage shrinking budgets while still providing the range of classes students need to obtain degrees or transfer.
“Schools want students to have sufficient courses, but ultimately students have to find their way through in one shape or form,” said Patrick C. Perry, the system’s vice chancellor of technology, research and information systems. <Read more.>