Some Valley community colleges add new classes

August 2, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Students registering for classes at some Valley community colleges will have more options this year.

The West Hills Community College District added more than two dozen new courses to its fall schedule.

After several years of budget cuts, tuition hikes and reductions in class offerings, students at West Hills College in Lemoore say things are finally starting to look up for those heading back to school.

"It's a perfect time to come in. You can get any class you want, any course you want and get started without having to wait until a spot becomes available," Ivan Ramirez from Lemoore said.

That's because the West Hills Community College District says the passage of Proposition 30 generated about $2 million between its three campuses. As a result it added 26 new courses to the fall schedule.

"I think that's awesome it gives more opportunity to students to be in the classroom and more learning opportunities," Gabriella Gomez from Lemoore said.

President Don Warkentin says the additional courses will open up around a thousand new seats in classrooms, and about 345 students have already been removed from waiting lists.

Reporter: "How long has it been since you've been able to do this?" " About four to five years. We've been in a reduction mode with the state economy. We probably lost over 25 percent of our enrollment due to reduction in course offering and now it looks like over the next few years, we'll be able to add about 15 percent loss back to our schedule," Warkentin said.

The expanded schedule includes traditional classroom as well as online courses. Of the 26, half will be online classes.

That gives students in Coalinga 15 new classes to choose from, students in Lemoore 25 new classes to choose from. The North District Center in Firebaugh will have 14 more options in the fall.

"I think it's great because some of my friends aren't enrolled yet in their classes so if it's one of those classes that they need they can get in and have a seat and won't have to wait until next semester to take that class," Trevaun James from Lemoore said.

Increasing access outside the immediate area and decreasing the time it takes to transfer to a four year university.


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