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Los Angeles

Students to Rally Against Increases in College Fees

March 15, 2004|Erika Hayasaki | Times Staff Writer

Nearly 350 Los Angeles community college students boarded buses Sunday night bound for Sacramento, where they will converge with thousands of students across the state to protest fee hikes and budget cuts.

Fees rose to $18 per academic unit this year from $11, and budget proposals for next year would raise the fees to $26 per unit.

"Every time California gets into a budget crunch they try to balance the budget by increasing fees for students," said Sonia Lopez, 35, a student government advisor and counselor at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College.

Many community college students are single parents, recent high school graduates or adults who can't afford to attend four-year universities, Lopez said.

"If we keep getting all these cuts, then we won't be able to offer the classes we need to train people to get out there and work," she said. "Community colleges are training a new generation, a new workforce, and we can't do that with lack of resources and finances."

The Los Angeles students involved are from the district's nine community colleges. In Sacramento, they will begin their rally at 10 a.m. today at Raley Field and march about a mile to the steps of the state Capitol.

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