Students are taking a step back

The average community college course is filled with students wishing to transfer, but take a second, look around and a number of students may have transferred here to Riverside City College.

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By Jeremy Fuerte

Looking to transfer (Luis Solis / Staff Photographer)

By Jeremy Fuerte

The average community college course is filled with students wishing to transfer, but take a second, look around and a number of students may have transferred here to Riverside City College.

RCC has a history of being a stepping stone for students wishing to transfer, who either have poor grades or can’t afford to attend a four-year university.

However, many students are now being forced to transfer to RCC for various reasons.

Many community college students, outside of RCC, are learning that their college may not offer the courses needed to transfer to a four-year university for specific majors.

After learning that San Bernardino Valley College was not offering the classes Jaylon Bennet needed to transfer, he found that RCC was his only viable option.

“My previous college did not offer the courses required for me to graduate or transfer to my university, so I was forced to take classes at RCC,” Bennet said.

Colleges are finding it harder and harder to guarantee that certain classes needed to transfer will be available.

“I talked to counselors about this and while they had prior told me the classes would be offered, once I checked the catalog they weren’t there,” Bennet said. “I talked to another counselor and they told me I should transfer to either RCC or Chaffey (College), so that way I could finish.”

Students from other community colleges aren’t the only ones who are having a difficult time acquiring classes needed to graduate.

Genecca Galope was a graphic design and marketing major at Cal State San Bernardino, but after her Free Application for Federal Student Aid came in late, she was forced to transfer to RCC.

“I already had my classes but because financial aid was coming in late, my classes got dropped,” she said.

Because this problem had occurred before for her, the counselors suggested she attend a community college and transfer back.

“In order to come back it was just best to transfer to a different school,” she said. “They gave me two specific classes to take just so I have credit to transfer back.”

Even though counselors suggested that she attend community college to earn units and transfer back, they failed to inform her that her units wouldn’t carry over.

This is a continuing problem for students who are being told to attend a community college after attending a university or another community college.

Mike Barnes, professor of Counseling and department chair, is well aware of this issue.

“The biggest hindrance for those students who come here, let’s say they’ve been at Chaffey and they have 40 or 50 units-they don’t get credit for those units here in terms of registration so they start as a brand new student,” Barnes said. “In some circumstances I try to encourage them to stay there because they have a better chance of getting in their classes there.”

A constant obstacle for students transferring to RCC and students in general is the failure of students and counselors to communicate.

After being told by San Bernardino Valley College counselors that he would need courses that his college did not offer, Bennet received conflicting advice from RCC counselors.

“They said apparently the university doesn’t care about those classes in particular, just the units,” he said. “So I was a little peeved when I transferred here and got stuck with the last priority.”

Barnes suggests that if students become confused between the different matriculations, go to http://www.assist.org and if they become confused by counselors from different colleges and universities offer different advice, go back.

“The quickest way to know that stuff is to use the assist.org website for college majors based on that specific college,” he said. “If they’re talking to them and they confuse you come back because a lot of times I’m using a different vocabulary.”

Whatever the reason, students are consistently disappointed with the failure of their college or university to meet the educational needs of the students.

“I thought it was crap,” Galope said in response to being told to attend a community college. “I thought because I was already a student there for two years they would help me out, but no.”

While it isn’t new that students transfer to community college, it is becoming increasingly common and will continue to occur as long as California’s fiscal crisis persists.

“There’s going to be more because the state’s broke,” Barnes said. “I don’t think these new taxes are going to be passed in November so there’s going to be even more cuts.”

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