Out of room: MiraCosta and Palomar deal with over-packed classes

Monica Castaneda, Staff Writer

College is a right of passage to most teenagers, some even compare it to the first step to being a whole new person. As summer ends students head off to the school of their choice and a new life. However, most recently budget cuts in the state of California have made it particularly difficult for students to get a place in the classes they choose.

MiraCosta College and Palomar College have suffered these setbacks. Many of the core classes that once were easily to get, have filled up and left no room for over 1,000 students who applied. Enrollment rates have risen nearly 7 percent since last year. This is bad news for  students.

“My sister Janette goes to MiraCosta and every year she’s had no difficulty getting classes, but this year she had to drop math because there simply was no room and now this is setting her back in terms of time,” Junior Verenice Garcia said.

Dick Robertson, MiraCosta’s Vice president of Student Services, recently told the “North County Times” that the tight space is due to many factors such as the budget cuts, an increasing population and an increase in applications for financial aid. This has created a 10-week wait list and due to a state law that requires a year of experience for any financial aid worker, MiraCosta doesn’t have the time to hire and train anyone. As a result, many applications are taking a longer time to process.

With the construction of new buildings, teachers also will find relief from reducing class sizes since the average class size in some classes is sixty to one. Not only does this affect the effectiveness of the class, but the ability the teacher has to help. 

“I would suggest applying as early as possible.  T hat’s what I did and I got most of my classes,” Former Senior Jennifer Mosley said.

Some possible solutions that college officials are planning are ways to add additional classes in the spring semester. This might require an extended school week into Saturday. Palomar College is planning to add four sections of core classes to accommodate more students. Construction will take place the following spring for buildings to house the new new classes. This isn’t the quick relief that students may be looking for, but it’s a start.

While this may not be a major concern for high school students at this time, it is something to be on the watch for. Especially seniors who are considering applying to either MiraCosta or Palomar.

“The priority still is and always has been the needs of the students, and we plan on doing anything to meet them,” Robertson said.