By Megan Perry
East Los Angeles College has been limiting continuing students to enroll for a maximum of 15 units for Fall 2011, but the limit will be lifted on May 31 for open registration.
The maximum will go back up to 18 units, and students will be able to petition if they want to take more than that.
This limits on the number of units students could sign up for the summer and fall semesters said Oscar Valeriano, vice president of Student Services.
Valeriano said he is “really trying to help students get the classes they need to transfer.”
Students with higher district-wide priority registration dates fill up the classes, leaving no room for new students to enroll.
Because of the district-wide priority registration, students sometimes take too many units and then pick and choose which units they want to keep, said Valeriano.
The limit is supposed to give an opportunity to students that will be enrolling when the open registration date begins.
This limit has not been applied to the winter and spring semesters, yet because ELAC administrators are holding off to conduct research in order to find out if the limit is going to help or hurt students.
Alex Immerblum, ELAC Academic Senate President, feels that this “might ultimately be a good thing.”
Another limit that has been implemented for the fall is that students may not register for more than 19 units throughout the nine schools in the Los Angeles Community College District.
Previously, students were allowed to sign up for 19 units at each school within the district.
The reason for this limit is because some students sign up for 19 units at each school in order to save spaces for themselves in classes, and then they only keep the classes that fit their schedules, leaving new students left without classes.
In addition to the ELAC and LACCD unit limits, the Legislative Analyst’s Office has suggested an end to financial aid for units taken after students have accumulated 100 units.
The LAO’s argument is that some students exploit the financial aid system by continuously accumulating units without accomplishing transfer, degree or workplace goals.
According to a LAO policy brief, “In fact, in 2009-10, the system provided instruction to 120,000 who earned over 90 units. 9,000 students accumulated 150 or more units.”
The LAO approximated that the savings would be as much as $175 million.
“I don’t like a blanket look,” said Immerblum, “but in these budgetary times, some students do take advantage of community colleges by enrolling in classes and taking up seats from students who are trying to get through to something.”
The Academic Senate of California Community Colleges has opposed this suggestion, and the ELAC Academic Senate as a whole has not yet taken a position.
The ASCCC is opposed to any cap that would penalize or impede the progress of the students whose academic goals serve the public interest in promoting higher degree attainment, workplace readiness and lifelong learning.