California State Senator Alan Lowenthal, (D-Long Beach,) authored SB1456, the Student Success Act of 2012 in February. The act outlines requirements for community colleges that aim to increase student graduation and transfer rates.
Lowenthal said “It is unacceptable that more than 50 percent of community college students are not graduating from or transferring within six years.” SB1456 is the first step toward a community college system that is focused and dedicated to student success and achievement, he said.
Currently, registration priority is mandated – in order – by veterans, Foster to Famous students, EOPS and DSPS, athletes and honor students, Early Decision Program students from local high schools, continuing students, new and returning students who have completed orientation and assessment who have not been here for a year, new and returning students who have not complete orientation and assessment within 12 months, and finally, high school students.
Dean of administration and records, Gerald Sequeira, said that with Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing of SB1456, this protocol will change.
“We have been trying to stay ahead of the curve. So for a small group of new and returning students who have completed orientation and assessment by deadlines they were given, they will be given priority registration,” he said.
The deadlines given for this group are Nov. 9 for Winter and Dec. 12 for Spring 2013.
The frequently used Board of Governor’s fee waiver will also be subject to change.
“Right now, if you meet the need, you get the funds, regardless of how many units you are carrying or how well you are doing in school.” Sequeira said.
SB1456 will also require academic satisfactory progress.
“Exactly how it will be applied has yet to be determined, but something similar will apply to the program,” Sequeira said.
All California community colleges will be given the guidelines in fall of 2013 and must comply with SB 1456 by fall 2014.
Should students fall below a 2.0 grade point average, they will be put on academic probation for a single semester. If they fail to improve their grades and do not rise above a 2.0 grade point average by the end of the school year, they will have to pay their own per-unit fees at the start of the following semester.
The purpose is to encourage students to graduate quickly and to maintain their grades.
Sequeira said that all students will feel the effects of the changes.
“Right now, there will be a unit limitation. If you are in EOPS, or a veteran, you have priority forever.” Sequeira said. “There will now be a cap of 100 units. If you [reach] 100 units, you will lose your priority and go to the back of the [registration] line.”
One of the key initiatives of the bill requires new students to develop an education plan. This is intended to ensure that students are placed in appropriate courses to reach their goal. Students will either make a plan and complete it, or make room for those who are on track to graduate or transfer.
Superintendent/president Geraldine M. Perri, said that in the past year, Citrus has done an excellent job in increasing the number of students who earn certificates, associate degrees or transfer to four-year institutions.
“The Student Success Act of 2012, as well as our college initiative to make Citrus College ‘A College of Completion’ are timely initiatives that will mean greater success and more opportunities for our students and community college students throughout the state” she said an email to Citrus college staff members.