For the first time in four years, the Coast Community College District will host winter intersession classes and expand spring course options at its three colleges.
Intersession, the semester between the fall and spring terms, was eliminated in 2009 when the district was forced to reduce offerings at its three colleges — Orange Coast, Golden West and Coastline — to combat crippling budget reductions from the state, said John Weispfenning, vice president of instruction at OCC.
"We eliminated it to try to keep the cuts away from primary semesters," he said. "We wanted to make sure our core student body could continue their education as uninterrupted as possible in the fall and spring."
However, during that time, many students struggled to find classes to fill their schedules, with some even being forced to take courses they didn't need just to qualify for financial aid as a full-time student.
However, this year, the district is able to open its doors to more students and additional classes with the passage of Proposition 30, which guarantees additional funding to California's community college system through temporarily raised sales taxes and taxes on income above $250,000.
"Students have a much better chance now of getting classes that they know they need," he said. "It allows us to get students in the right seat, not just in any seat that's available."
More than 50 classes will be offered at OCC during intersession, which runs from Jan. 2 to 24.
Some of the classes offered include accounting, astronomy, history, humanities, mathematics, psychology and political science.
OCC has also increased its spring course options by 107 classes from last year, said Doug Bennett, OCC spokesman.
"Based on the number of sections we have scheduled, we are expecting enrollment to grow by 6% over last spring," he said.
This growth is necessary for the district if it wants to qualify for Proposition 30 funds next year, said Chancellor Andrew Jones.
Of the 60,000 students enrolled at OCC, just over half attend school on a full-time basis, meaning they take at least 12 units per semester.
Jones said that because the colleges are funded based on the number of full-time students, the district must increase that number to qualify for additional funding next school year.