SF State assigning classes using lottery system

Students cross Malcolm X Plaza on the SFSU campus on Sept. 13, 2011 in San Francisco. Budget cuts and employee layoffs have made it difficult for SFSU students to enroll in many required classes. BONNIE EVA CHAN / THE GUARDSMAN

By Darren Girard
The Guardsman

Instructors at SF State have resorted to “class lotteries” in response to the newest wave of fiscal cuts, which have led to fewer classes for even more students in the ever-crowded college.

SF State is one of the most popular and crowded of the 23 California State University campuses, and in recent years 16 percent of faculty have been cut, along with 300 courses, leaving 30,000 students to contend for coveted seats. Cut-throat competition makes for disgruntled students, many of whom may not graduate on time.

“I am supposed to graduate at the end of next semester and now I can’t get into the main classes I need for this semester,” said a SF State student who requested anonymity. “I lost the lottery in a much needed class.”

He worried about the future of education.

“The law makers in Sacramento need to really look at what’s going on here and make cuts elsewhere,” he added. “Our education system is really suffering.”

The overwhelming sentiment among SF State students is plain, “It sucks!”

Community colleges are pipelines for the educational system ushering the majority of transfer students to 4-year universities like SF State. City College students wanting to transfer to a  CSU will now have a harder time getting necessary classes. The lack of available classes and the bad luck of a lottery has many students reconsidering their options.

In a recent reader’s survey done by The Guardsman, over 35 percent of polled students indicated they were considering either transferring to a University of California or to an out-of-state university. Some students even said private colleges would be preferable to a state university.

The shrinking budget has led to staff reductions, course cuts and tuition hikes, all of which have deeply affected City College students. This semester some students found themselves left out of core classes, and some were unable to receive financial aid due to lack of credits.

Students like Stephanie Pagel had to “take weird classes [such as] Beginners Piano, just to make minimum credit requirements.” If the budget crisis continues, Pagel added, “I think it will be harder in the future to get financial aid.”

If the budget crisis continues to cut classes, not only will the process be more difficult for students like Pagel to get financial aid, but the education process will be increasingly difficult for most college students to receive the quality education they deserve.