If community colleges raised tuition to fund additional classes, students would still pay less—without waiting—than they would at for-profit colleges, argues Nate Johnson of Postsecondary Analytics.
Community colleges are creating the academic equivalent of Soviet bread lines, write economists Sandy Baum and Michael McPherson in a recent blog post on The Chronicle of Higher Education. Wait lists seem egalitarian, but "all that time spent in line is pure waste—time that could, for example, be put to productive use earning the money to pay a premium price for the thing you're waiting for."
[See how community colleges offer a cheaper alternative to grad school.]
Anything that delays community college students' progress to a degree makes it less likely they'll ever complete that journey, warns Complete College America in a 2011 report, "Time is the Enemy." Delays are especially damaging to the graduation chances of disadvantaged students.
The California Community Colleges Board of Governors has approved a task force recommendation that would give registration priority to students who have developed an academic plan and are moving toward their goals.
Students who aren't progressing would go to the end of the line and onto wait lists. That's expected to favor middle-class students, who are more likely to be well-prepared for college than low-income, minority, and first-generation students.
Joanne Jacobs writes Community College Spotlight for The Hechinger Report, an independent nonprofit education news site. Jacobs also blogs about K-12 education and is the author of Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea and the Charter School That Beat the Odds.