As an elected community college trustee of the Cabrillo College Governing Board, I strongly support Proposition 92 — the initiative that will lower community college fees and ensure the doors stay open to future students.
Our students graduate to become firefighters, nurses, policemen and radiology technologists. Thousands of students graduate each year to become engineers, scientists, teachers and business leaders. Cabrillo is an economic engine that contributes significantly to our local economy and quality of life. The pipeline to success at a university is shown by the fact that two-thirds of California State University graduates and one-third of University of California graduates began at a community college.
Opponents of Proposition 92 are trying to say it won’t really help students and that fees are low enough. Well, the opponents need a reality check.
Every day, we see students struggling to pay for their college education, including preparation for career and technical jobs and transfer to university. Ask any community college student trying to earn a stable income, and they will tell you how important low, predictable fees are to them. Every dollar, up or down in fees, makes a huge difference.
In 2004, when fees were hiked to $26 per unit, more than 300,000 fewer students enrolled in our community colleges.
Community colleges are the only option for many students, and lowering fees (even if it is only $5) helps them, especially when many students come from middle-class families that don’t qualify for financial aid.
Now, Californians have the opportunity to lower fees and take the politics out of funding for community colleges by voting yes on Proposition 92 — just as Californians did 20 years ago for K-12 education when they passed Proposition 98.
Proposition 92 will guarantee stable funding for community colleges, ensuring the doors stay open. By lowering student fees and ensuring that the fees stay stable, voters will provide even more Californians a chance to go to college, make a better life for themselves and become productive, tax-paying citizens. And Proposition 92 won’t raise your taxes.
Did you know that 70 percent of all Californians attending college are enrolled at one of the state’s 110 community colleges? The average student is a 28-year-old working Californian, and 60 percent of the students are women.
California’s community colleges serve a diverse population. Thirty percent of all Latinos in America attending college are enrolled in a California community college. There are 241,000 Californians from Asian and Pacific Islander backgrounds. And there are 118,000 more black students at community colleges than in the CSU and UC systems combined.
For every $1 the state spends on community colleges, the colleges generate $3 back to the state budget as millions of graduates earn better wages. A good investment for sure. A full-time community college student costs the state less than half of what the state spends on a CSU student and only a third of what the state spends on a UC student. Community colleges are worth the investment.
Your vote for Proposition 92 secures funding for the present and future generations of the state’s community college students who are so vital to the growth of California’s economy.
Vote yes on Proposition 92 on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
Claudine Wildman of Scotts Valley is a trustee of the Cabrillo Community College District.