Colleges and their ability to keep their students

FRESNO, Calif.

It's no magic trick that the number of students returning to two year colleges after their first year is the highest it's been in 27 years.

This is Arrian Eftekhar's third year at Fresno City College, at $26.00 per unit; he says the thing that keeps him coming back is the cost.

"Sometimes I feel like I'm getting a similar education for cheaper with the economy." Eftekhar said. "The less money, the better things are."

According to data from A-C-T the percentage of first year students returning to two year colleges has increased three points since 2005, while the numbers at four year schools have dropped three points to a 27 year low.

FCC President Cynthia Azari says many students are unprepared for college and getting them to return after the first year is a challenge for all institutions. "For many years we focused on access let's get them in, now it's ok let's make sure they are successful."

Azari says many students come to community college because of the support and programs that offer a quick transition into the working world. "We have students with bachelor's degrees coming into nursing because they know there are jobs there."

Because tax dollars are used to support education, there is currently a legislative proposal to place a cap on the number of units students can earn at two year schools before they are forced to leave.

Azari said, "I think they should allow some exceptions."

For many this is just a start, of an education they hope to finish at a four year university.

"I'm going to be taking classes at state next semester." Eftekhar said. "I already have to save up money for that."

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