Hernandez was academically dismissed from UC Merced because his grade-point average dropped below 2.0. He enrolled at Merced College to take the courses he needed to get back into the university.
But he’s had a hard time getting some of those classes.
“What I should have done in a year, is now taking me longer,” the 22-year-old said.
The California Community College Board of Governors met Monday to discuss an enrollment priority policy, but Merced College has gone ahead and developed its own. It went into effect this summer.
The policy is meant to help students stay focused on their education.
Acting President Anne Newins said officials at Merced College began to discuss the issue last year and decided they didn’t want to wait two or three years for the statewide college board to act.
If the statewide policy discussed Monday by the board moves forward, it could be implemented in fall of 2014. If it goes into effect, Merced College will have to make slight modifications to its policy.
The policy at Merced College gives enrollment priority to four groups, including certain veterans, disabled students, former foster youths and members of the college’s Extended Opportunity Program and Services, Newins said.
Students who have a high GPA and those making good progress toward their degree are higher on the list for priority registration. “We also took the approach of recognizing good student performance,” she said.
College students with 110 units or more and new students are toward the bottom of the list, Newins said. Students at the end of the list are those who are still in high school, but want to take college courses.
Before the Merced policy went into effect, students with the most units were given higher priority, Newins said. That sometimes prevented students with less units, but who were closer to graduating, from enrolling in the classes they needed, she said.
Students could have many units for various reasons, Newins said.
For example, they could be getting multiple degrees or could be “professional students” who like taking courses but don’t have a particular goal in mind.
The Merced policy is designed to keep students focused on taking the right classes. Newins said that eventually will lead to fewer students taking an excessive number of classes.
Hernandez said sometimes there are students who are interested in the financial aid money, so they will enroll in classes and then drop them later — preventing others from getting courses they need.
He said the Merced policy should help, but he acknowledged it could have a negative impact on some students who are working hard and have piled up a lot of units.
One of those students is David Venegas. The 26-year-old has been taking courses at Merced College for five years.
Because of the high number of units he has, Venegas wasn’t going to be able to enroll in two of three classes he needed to transfer to UC Merced.
However, Venegas was able to talk to his professors prior to enrollment and got into the classes he needed.
Although it worked out, Venegas said the policy had an impact on him. “That has affected me,” he said.
Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or email@example.com.
©2012 the Merced Sun-Star (Merced, Calif.)
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