Benefits of Student Accumulation of “Excess Units”

Resolution Number
Kevin Ryan
Assigned to
General Concerns
Status Report

A breakout was presented at Fall 2010 plenary.

Whereas, Various parties statewide, including the California Legislative Analyst’s Office and the Chancellor for California Community Colleges, have voiced concern that students accrue “excess units” beyond those they truly need for degree or certificate completion or for transfer (e.g., CCCCO Press Release, January 29, 2010), thus placing a financial burden on California taxpayers that those concerned believe serves no purpose;

Whereas, Many students enter community colleges without clear predetermined career paths or educational goals and should not be denied the opportunity to explore a variety of potential interests and possible career paths while they search for a desirable life direction;

Whereas, While in certain cases students may accrue “large numbers” of units beyond the requirements for their educational goals for invalid reasons, in many cases students exceed requirements due to necessity, such as when fulfilling enrollment obligations for financial aid, insurance, or other benefits requiring enrollment in a minimum number of units, or for useful and valid educational reasons, such as exploration regarding career or educational goals, diversifying marketability, retaining required currency, fulfilling differing transfer requirements for multiple institutions, a change of major, or a need for basic skills instruction or other non-transferable units that add to the students’ overall unit count; and

Whereas, Condemnation of high unit counts and attempts to eliminate all accrual of “excess units” without due consideration and acknowledgment of the possibility that “excess units” may serve various legitimate educational purposes does a disservice to students, whether those who are just beginning their academic or professional careers or those who are already educated and seeking retraining;

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges affirm that high unit counts beyond direct necessity for degree or certificate completion or for transfer are not inherently negative and urge all statewide constituencies to acknowledge the benefits that accrual of such units may in many cases render when considering limitations on accumulation of units.

MSC Disposition: Local Senates