Pushing Students out of Community College

Finger pointingFinancial aid cut-backs and new push-out policies written into the so-called Student Success Act have started a war on students. New regulations and bureaucratic barriers are pushing them out of community college, towards predatory student loans, the for-profit colleges, or endless low-wage work.

The California Community College system has shrunk from 2.9 million students in 2008, to 2.1 million students in 2015, and City College has shrunk from 100,000 students in 2008 to 65,000 today. Push-out policies are now squeezing out the very students who depend on community college the most. What’s happening and why?

Cuts to the Federal Pell Grant

Are you taking longer than expected to finish at your community college? Your Pell Grant might be used up before you even transfer to a four-year university, pressuring you into a student loan!

  • In 2012, the U.S. Congress reduced Pell Grant eligibility from 18 semesters to 12 semesters and eliminated summer Pell Grants. This will reduce total Pell Grant funding by 50 billion dollars over 10 years.
  • Pell now covers only one third of the cost of attending college, the lowest in 40 years.

More than 8 million students rely on the Pell Grant to attend college (more than 60% of African Americans and half of Latino students).

Harsh Payment Policy Adopted by Administration in January 2013

Owe $28 in library fines? Waiting in long lines to see a financial aid counselor? Better hurry… pay up or get out!

  • Starting in January 2013, CCSF administration implemented a new payment policy which forces already-enrolled students to pay fees and small back debts before financial aid arrives.
  • Students who can’t pay are pressured to take out a loan from the predatory student loan company Nelnet, or else are robo-dropped from all their classes. The impact is worst on undocumented students and out of state students, who may find themselves owing several thousand dollars.
  • The administration is willing to forego state appropriations of up to $4,676 for each full-time student, while the average back payment is only $200. This only makes sense if the goal is downsizing and privatization.
  • Neither the students nor the college benefit from this policy, only predatory student loan companies and for-profit colleges.

Course Repeatability Rules

Need a few tries to pass that important math class? Sorry.

  • In 2013 colleges start enforcing “3 strikes and you’re out;” only three withdrawals from a course, then you can NEVER try again.

Trying to master hip-hop dance or art? Repeatability rules will put a to that!

  • In 2014-15, colleges start enforcing that students can only take four skills-based classes in a “family” (i.e. music, dance, or art classes). This blocks working class people from developing a high level of skill in their art, and makes majoring in the arts nearly impossible. It also destabilizes music, art and physical education departments that communities have relied on for decades.

So-Called “Academic Progress” Rule

Life happened and you suddenly had to walk away from classes? Ready to try college again? “Academic Progress” will end community college as the place for second chances, the place where students can hit the re-set button on their lives.

  • Set to take effect in fall 2016, this new state policy denies fee waivers and priority registration to students who over two semesters, either fall below a “C” average or who do not complete 50% of their classes.
  • This policy will cause 42,000 students statewide to lose their BOG Fee Waivers, including large numbers of African American, Latino, Pacific Islander, and disabled students.

Unit Caps

Are you an older student hoping to upgrade your skills? Not ready to stop learning? This policy says your time is up. Limit exceeded.

  • Starting in 2014, students with more than 100 units get sent to the very back of the enrollment line and often won’t get the classes they need.


Bureaucratic Barriers to Enrollment

Bureaucratic barriers set requirements, but don’t give students what they need to meet the requirements.

  • New policies require students to have an educational plan in place, but then over 30 part-time counselors were laid off at City College after the accreditation crisis.
  • Students are robo-dropped from all their classes if they haven’t paid small debts before financial aid arrives, yet major cuts in financial aid staff makes it hard for students to get through complex paperwork.
  • New policies discourage part-time and lifelong learners (for example someone who already has a bachelor’s degree) from taking classes, and the enrollment website makes it almost impossible to sign up.


Why is this happening?

The person who wrote most of these policies, Amy Supinger, was the executive director of the so-called Student Success Task Force. After writing up the 22 new restrictive measures, Supinger went through the golden revolving door, leaving her job as a state government analyst, for a lucrative position with the Lumina Foundation. Lumina was set up in 2000 by the Student Loan Marketing Corporation (Sallie Mae), the country’s dominant student loan company.

As part of its downstream business strategy, Sallie Mae transferred its CEO, four board members, and 770 million dollars to start Lumina. While veiling the hand of the despised student loan industry, Lumina advocates for millions more college degrees, heavy 15-unit class loads per semester (so students can’t work their way through college), yet less public funding for colleges and universities. In short, Lumina’s policies add up to a recipe for a huge ballooning of student debt, already at 1.3 trillion and counting.


–Written by the Research Committee to Save City College, rescomm11@gmail.com The contact person is Allan Fisher.

Teach-ins Rally & March

Learn at the Teach-Ins then MARCH AND RALLY FOR OUR CCSF
—-STOP THE CUTS & FAIR 770ee200-2671-4ed5-aa92-7bf9fcb916beCONTRACT NOW!

During the accreditation crisis, City College students and workers fought alongside our community for CCSF. Now Administration intends to shrink classes by 26%, layoff more than a quarter of the faculty, and refuses to negotiate a fair faculty contract. Help us defend a City College for everyone!

Thursday, Nov. 12th, 2015  
1:30 PM: MARCH for CCSF

from CCSF Downtown  (88 4th St. @ Mission)

to CCSF Civic Center (1170 Market St. @ UN Plaza)

2:00 PM: RALLY for CCSF

Next General Assembly Meeting This Tuesday!

Tuesday, September 29th, 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Ocean Campus – MUB 240

We will celebrate our recent victories (come to find out what they are if you don’t already know) and strategize for more.

Please help with these or other potential projects:

  • Organize pickets in support of the faculty negotiations to win a fair contract. Teacher working conditions are student learning conditions!
  • Pressure our administration to focus on building enrollment. Instead they are focused on reducing classes in order to increase “productivity” (essentially the ratio of students/faculty in a class.)
  • End the push-out policies such as the aggressive payment policy that has pushed out hundreds if not thousands of low income students.
  • Fight land grabs.
  • End the state control. We need to get rid of the special trustee who has veto power over our democratically elected board of trustees. He is acting behind the scenes and on the behalf of the state chancellor to further carry out the agenda of the discredited ACCJC.



Our own board of trustees sent a written comment and will also send a representative to Washington to give oral comment. We are well on our way to putting this hammer for the corporate agenda out of business!
.We are organizing a team will go to the hearing in Washington D.C. to give oral public comments, as we did in December 2013. Our presence at that time was influential in their ultimate decision to put ACCJC on the “show cause” status.
Please donate online to help fund this effort!
Or you can send a check made out to
Save CCSF Coalition
1249 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA  94117

Submit Public Comment to get the ACCJC Delisted! DEADLINE: Sept 25, 2015

This is our opportunity to put this rogue agency out of business!.

Must be submitted by email by Sept. 25th

INSTRUCTION: For Non-CCSF People to Submit
Must be submitted by email by Sept. 25th

Must be submitted by email by Sept. 25th to reserve your spot to appear in Wash. D.C. on Dec 16-18, 2015
The Secretary’s letter from DOE to ACCJC

Click here for a detailed explanation of how the renewal process for an accrediting agency works and where the ACCJC is in this process.

A team from CCSF will go to the hearing in Washington, D.C. on December 16-18, 2015 to submit oral public comments, as we did in December 2013. Our presence at that time was influential in their decision to put ACCJC on their own “show-cause” status.

Please donate online to help fund this effort!
Or you can send a check made out to
Save CCSF Coalition
1249 Hayes St.
San Francisco, CA 94117

The Brief Story:
The ACCJC gets its authority from the US Department of Education (DOE). Many of you are aware that, spurred by the CFT complaint filed in April 2013, the DOE issued a letter to the ACCJC identifying 15 federal regulations with which the ACCJC was out of compliance. They were given a year to come into compliance, essentially putting them on their own “show cause.”

The ACCJC will come before a NACIQI (National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity) hearing this December. NACIQI will consider various documents including ACCJC’s report, a staff analysis report, and written third party comments. Oral third party comments will be allowed at the hearing. Then NACIQI will then make a recommendation to the DOE as to whether or not to reauthorize the ACCJC.

A More Detailed Story:
Click here for a more detailed explanation of how the renewal process for an accrediting agency works and where the ACCJC is in this process.


The recently released and long-awaited California Community College Chancellor’s Task Force Report on Accreditation and the practices of the ACCJC confirms unequivocally that the agency is no longer widely accepted by educators and educational institutions. The report, compiled by a blue-ribbon panel of California community college experts, including college presidents, administrators, elected trustees, and faculty, found that the “California Community College system and its member institutions have lost confidence in the ACCJC” and that the colleges and the system need to transition to another accreditor. Read the articles!


The PUC-owned western half of Balboa Reservoir has been designated for development and sale to private interests to increase available housing stock in SF.

The second Balboa Reservoir Community Advisory Committee will meet on Monday September 14th, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. in the Lick-Wilmerding Cafeteria. (755 Ocean Avenue – across the street from the CCSF Wellness Center.).

The main subjects of the 9/14 meeting will be:parking lot full

  1. Housing parameters
  2. Urban design & neighborhood character
  3. CCSF Master Plan update

State Chancellor’s Task Force Says: Dump the ACCJC!


Read the articles!

SF Examiner
Report urges new accreditor for California community colleges
City College Was Right All Along About Accreditors

College accreditation group should be replaced, task force says

Inside Higher Ed
California Community Colleges May Seek New Accreditor
Trouble for an Accreditor

Task force report urges new California community college accreditor

AFT 2121
Accreditation Task Force Report: Get Rid of ACCJC!

Chancellor’s Task Force calls for new accreditor

ACCJC Dealt Serious Setback (AFT – American Federation of Teachers)

News Release from SF City Attorney Dennis Herrera
Herrera praises call to replace ACCJC by Chancellor’s Accreditation Task Force

Our Work Is Still Needed!

Come to the SAVE CCSF GENERAL ASSEMBLY meeting: September 1st, Tues 5:30-7:30pm, MUB 240

First let’s relish our victories:

  • CCSF remains OPEN AND ACCREDITED!WeAreCityCollege
  • We have a new (and vastly improved) chancellor!
  • The worst aspects of the ill-advised reorganization plan have been halted.
  • We have a new location for our Civic Center campus.
  • Our Board of Trustees have (most of) their powers back.
  • ACCJC has a vastly tarnished reputation and legislation is in the works–already passed by an overwhelming majority in the State Assembly–that will place some oversight over its operations. Additionally, they may not survive their probationary status with the DOE at upcoming hearing in December.

Now some inconvenient truths:

  • CCSF remains under state control
    The Special Trustee appointed by the un-elected Board of Governors, has veto power over all decisions by the locally elected Board of Trustees.
    We need to demand return of our school to local control!
  • CCSF remains under the thumb of the ACCJC
    Under the guise of Restoration we are required to achieve 100% “perfection” by January 2017, a standard that no college could meet, including any of the colleges of the ACCJC commissioners. The ACCJC claims to care only about “meeting standards” but their agenda for CCSF embraces a much smaller, corporate-model community college with a narrowed mission to get rid of life-long learners, non-credit and part-time students while at the same time attacking part-time faculty benefits, union busting, eroding powers of the elected trustees, focusing solely on workforce training, and squeezing out Diversity Studies and more marginal students.
    We need to fight these detrimental ACCJC-imposed policies.
  • Enrollment MIS-management continues
    The failure of administration to counter negative press, the bungled closure of Civic Center’s Eddy campus, the implementation of unnecessary local push-out policies, and bureaucratic barriers have caused enrollment to plummet.
    We need to push for effective enrollment management and against this “right-sizing” of our college.
  • Our Campuses are in danger of being sold off (or leased for 99 years – same thing)
    The Board of Trustees is currently considering the leasing of 33 Gough St. with no real input from stakeholders or the affordable housing community.
    We need to halt this process until our board has full power with no threat of Special Trustee veto.
  • The Performing Arts Education Center was improperly cancelled by STWEP I and remains in limbo.
    CCSF and the community need this important resource that SF voted for twice.
  • A fair contract for faculty is not an administration priority
    The district appears to be taking a divide and conquer strategy to create a rift between part-timers and full-timers so as to undermine faculty strength and force unnecessary concessions.
    We need be in solidarity and strengthen our union to win a fair contract.


  • Sign the petition to refrain from cancelling classes before the add/drop date.
  • Come to the BOT meeting to send these messages to trustees: August 27, Thurs probably 4:00pm, MUB 140
  • Come to the SAVE CCSF GENERAL ASSEMBLY meeting: September 1st, Tues 5:30-7:30pm, MUB 240
  • Support Faculty Contract Negotiations: Faculty should vote in favor of the September referendum to establish a Hardship Fund in the event of a strike, and urge colleagues to do the same.
  • Stay informed: Send your email address to info@saveccsf.org with message “Add me to the newsletter!”