“USF Steps Up” Offers State Students Classes

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In response to the sweeping budget cuts that have left many California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) students struggling to enroll in all of the classes they need, USF’s College of Arts and Science has created USF Steps Up. This program will allow state students to enroll in general education courses at USF’s regional campuses on a temporary basis.

In July of 2009, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the University of California voted to cut $813 million from their budget. At the same time, Charles Reed, CSU chancellor, also began implementing cuts in hopes of reducing their budget. According to the article, these budget cuts affect staff and faculty salaries and course availability for students as a result. The Golden Gate Express, San Francisco State University’s newspaper, reported that 81 sections of courses had been cut and that many students were crowding into classrooms in hopes of adding the courses.

USF has four regional campuses in Santa Rosa, San Ramon, Sacramento and Cupertino. BJ Johnson, vice provost for academic and enrollment services, said these locations primarily serve working adults by offering courses on evenings and weekends. State students will receive a fifty five percent discount on the seven general education courses that USF Steps Up will offer; each unit will cost $560 versus the $1200 per unit on USF’s main campus. These discount courses are available only at the regional campuses.

Johnson said that there is no room on main campus and that “the experience of being on campus is very different. These students will not benefit from the services offered on main campus.” The extension campuses will offer art, math, philosophy, public speaking, Spanish, social science and writing. Johnson said “We (College of Arts and Sciences) have been hearing from administrators and faculty, especially CSUs, about how difficult it has been and that many students have not been able to get their courses. We wanted to help students so they don’t lose time.” The courses are tailored to fulfill general education classes required by every four year college. With the exception of Spanish, the other courses are all three units so they can transfer back to CSUs and UCs, which operate on a semester schedule.

Johnson said that USF Steps Up will run in the spring of 2010 as a pilot run. After the semester, the College of Arts and Sciences will evaluate how the program went and decide if they want to continue it.

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