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Pima Community College outlines proposed changes

100 attend Governing Board forum

The Pima Community College Governing Board heard an overview of the college's proposed new admissions requirements and changes to remedial education during a forum Tuesday.

About 100 people attended.

The proposed policy is a work in progress, and some changes could still be made between now and next summer, when it is planned to take effect.

The next hearing is planned for 5:30 p.m. Aug. 23 in the Community Room at the East campus, 8181 E. Irvington Road.

Here are answers to some common questions about the planned changes.

How will the admissions process change?

Currently a student must fill out an application form and take a placement test before registering for classes.

When the proposed policy takes effect next summer, the student would be required to demonstrate through the placement test that he or she is at least at a seventh-grade level in math, reading and writing, said Chancellor Roy Flores.

Students would also need to show a high school transcript or GED scores within two months.

PCC is still considering whether to admit students who don't have a diploma but have acceptable placement test scores.

Which remedial classes will be cut?

PCC would quit offering the lowest tier of remedial classes - Math 82, Reading 71 and Writing 70.

The chancellor and faculty advisory groups have said few students are successful in these classes.

Flores spoke of Math 82 as an example.

Students who place into Math 82 tested at grade levels one through five, Flores said. About 1,160 students placed into that class last fall semester, he said. That's 18 percent of PCC students entering college for the first time.

Simone Gers, a writing faculty member, talked about Writing 70.

PCC taught 50 sections of the class last year, and only 5 percent of students succeeded, she said.

Many of the students would be better served by taking English as a second language classes or adult basic education classes before attempting college-level classes, she said.

The chancellor has said the classes are not a good use of student tuition money or tax money.

It costs about $6,600 to educate a full-time student at PCC. Local property-tax payers pay a large part of the cost.

The state subsidy is $325 per student.

A full-time student pays $945 in in-state tuition or $4,410 in out-of-state tuition, sometimes taking out a loan and sometimes using federal financial aid to pay the tuition bill.

Which remedial classes will be available?

The majority of PCC students will still be placed in remedial classes, said PCC Governing Board chair Marty Cortez.

PCC will offer three reading classes, one writing class and one math class to help students prepare for college-level classes.

The cutoff scores on the placement test will be raised for the classes.

What would happen to potential students who don't make the cut?

Students will be referred to noncredit classes at PCC designed to help them prepare for college. They include GED classes and tutoring programs.

Students could also take adult basic-education classes at PCC to bring their skills up to the required levels.

"We'll do everything possible, and we'll be more creative than ever before to help these students," said PCC Northwest Campus President Alex Kajstura.

Students in these kinds of programs aren't eligible for federal financial aid; however, federal grants could fund instruction, or students could receive other kinds of scholarships from the PCC Foundation, Flores said.

Students also could be referred to programs outside PCC, including literacy classes, English classes and job-training programs.

How would the policy affect teens who are taking both high school classes and college classes? And home-schooled students?

Students who don't yet have a high school diploma or GED must meet the minimum scores on the placement test and meet the existing requirements for students under age 16.

Or they can take other classes that don't have prerequisites in those three subject areas, such as astronomy or history.

How would the policy affect students who are taking a class for personal enrichment?

Students who are not working on a degree are exempt from the rules for the first 15 credit hours.

On StarNet: Read Becky Pallack's blog on higher education in Tucson at

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at or 807-8012.

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