For the past year I have been a full-time student in the California Community College system, with the intention of heading to the University of California after completing my second year of classes locally. This is the modern “California way” of higher education – UC generally only admits recent high school graduates as incoming freshman – requiring applicants to finish 60 credits towards a degree prior to enrolling. However, as the State of California crumbles, unable to balance a humane budget, they continue to slash access to affordable higher education: a 27% cut in community college classes for Fall 2012 compounds the problem students already face after a 25% cut this past Spring 2012 semester. Tuition and fees are skyrocketing compared to inflation: CSU and UC have had multiple tuition increases in the past two years, tuition nearly doubling over a five-year span, with more to come (“UC plan sees tuition rising up to 16% annually over four years” – Los Angeles Times); CCSF raised fees 33% for the 2012-2013 school year as they reduced cost-of-living budget figures in financial aid calculations, reducing access to private loans for those who are independent. Progress and repair for the system are currently leveraged on upcoming general election referendums, tax increases which have historically failed, the problem that brought us here in the first place.
Personally, I have felt the swing of the axe. Basic classes like English quickly close with overflowing wait lists, forcing students to take classes during summer session to expedite their progress through the system. Moreover, financial aid that I applied and qualified for was recently eliminated from the budget, and suddenly monies I had planned to subsist on during the next five months have evaporated. This is a really hard situation to deal with two weeks before classes begin and without any sort of warning from your school.
Scrambling, I don’t have much choice other than to make some tough decisions and derive income however I can. So, I’m doing an electronics store going-out-of-business-style art sidewalk sale. Please click through and hang some artwork above your sofa!
The sale has ended. A grand, warm thank you to all who supported my goals by adding to their collection.