Student Services, cuts and possible future changes

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By Itzel Farias / Asst. News Editor

By Itzel Farias / Asst. News Editor

With the anticipated budget cuts for the upcoming academic year, students are interested in the effects it will have on them and their education.

Compared to this year, students will probably feel the effect of budget cuts slightly more than before.

With Riverside Community College District facing a budget cut of about $14.7 million and Riverside City College having to make a cut of around $2.7 million, the change is sure to be felt.

“It’s difficult to exactly pinpoint what the effects are going to be on the students because we haven’t actually been through it,” said Edward Bush, vice president of Student Services. “We were making our determinations of our cuts in student services; we really try to operate under the philosophy of what can we cut that will have the least effect on our students.”

The cuts have to be made and the students at RCC will be the first ones to be impacted.

The Extended Opportunity Programs and Services, known as EOPS, is one area that will be affected by the budget cuts.

The program assists low income students in achieving academic success by providing them with the right tools and resources.

It will face a cut of over $200,000 and the two counselors, who meet with the students that are in the program, will be reduced to one.

This will surely be felt by the students because meeting with their counselor is mandated and the program will now have to organize themselves with just one counselor and still be able to provide for their students.

“Three years ago, the state reduced our budget by approximately 32 to 40 percent, but what the college district did at that time was to use its own money, to what we call ‘backfield money’… to fill that gap,” Bush said. “So for the last three years we didn’t have to take any cuts to that program… but because of the budget cut situation the district can no longer provide that backfield money and so we had to reduce that.”

However, the program is looking into using other resources to provide its students with the information they need, such as general counseling, advisers and technology. Still, nothing is yet set in stone.

Other areas that are facing cuts are staff, student workers and athletics.

The student worker budget of $30,000 has been eliminated and there is a possibility of staff reduction.

Athletics is taking a cut of about $218,000. Many expenses were reduced, including travel costs.

Bush said the athletic coaches at RCC were involved with the reduction of the athletics department’s budget.

“They came around the table and looked at their budget and then they made their recommendations to get to the target they needed to hit,” Bush said. “However, budget suggestions have to be approved by the Board of Trustees so that won’t become official until the next board meeting this month.”

Along with budget cuts, new programs are being looked into as well.

The two year completion guarantee is one of them.

This program will give students from Riverside, who have graduated from Riverside Unified School District and Alvord Unified School District, and who are eligible to take English 50 (or higher) and math 35 (or higher) priority registration if they opt to follow the contract.

The contract states that the students must take at least 15 credits a semester, finish within two years, and take English and math in their first semester, among other requirements; they are projecting about 275 eligible incoming freshmen.

The Out of Order Committee is also considering implementing a “unit cap.”

Once a student hits his or her unit cap, that is to say, completes a certain number of units to where they are at “a position to move on,” they will go to the end of the list in registration to allow other students to move up. This will help students access the courses they need and help them advance and somewhat alleviate the difficulty of getting into a class.

“I think it’s important for them (students) to value the seat that they’re in when they’re in a class,” Bush said. “A lot of students drop and withdraw if they don’t like the course.”

Bush said the students do not have the luxury to decide when they want to take a class.

“It’s trying to be a little difficult because in the past they knew that in the next term they would be able to get in the class again and that might not be the case,” he said. “So, my advice to them is for them to value the class and have a set plan.”

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