The latest victim of state budget cuts, Merced College announced on Wednesday it expects to eliminate more than 250 course sections over the next year to bridge a $4.5 million budget shortfall.
“It is regrettable that we are forced to cut classes that many of our students are counting on,” said Merced College President Benjamin T. Duran. ‘’However, for our college to remain solvent, these measures must be taken. It is not our desire to negatively impact education further, but we have no choice.”
The cuts will begin with the summer 2011 term, which will offer 55 fewer courses than a year ago. In the fall 2011 term, a further 123 courses will be eliminated from the schedule. No firm numbers are available on spring 2012 cuts, but the college expects to cut an additional 100 classes.
The reduced courses come from disciplines across the spectrum, ranging from Geology to English, Math, Chemistry and Communications. The Arts and Physical Education will lose the most classes, with Painting Techniques for Older Adults and Arts and Crafts for Older Adults losing the most sections.
“The reductions in credit were fairly evenly distributed among the various academic areas,” said Vice President of Instruction Marianne Tortorici. “A large percent of the reductions occurred with the multi-section course offerings. In other words, instead of offering seven sections of a course, we will be offering six sections. There were some reductions in single course offerings as well, with many of these being classes with traditionally low enrollment.”
The 250 class sections amount to a 7.5 percent reduction in total course offerings for 2011-2012. Despite the class reductions, Merced College expects to remain above the state enrollment cap, meaning the college will educate about 600 more full-time students than covered by state funding.
Merced College will hold public forums on the state of the budget over the next few weeks, Duran said, though no specific dates are currently set.
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