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For generations, community colleges have been seen as a low cost education for many. However, starting this summer, Santa Monica College is going to offer courses that are typically hard to enroll in (due to greater demand and the lack of student seats) at a premium price structure. This two-tiered price structure is raising concerns about the role and obligations of community colleges and unfair exclusion of the poorest students, which creates an imposed lower and upper class of students.


1. Explain what has led to this idea. Do you think it is a good one? Why or why not?
2. What percentage increase would be applied to the more expensive courses?
3. If you were brainstorming about ideas to counteract budget cuts and avoid this two-tier system, what are some of the ideas you would suggest?

Source: Video. (2012). Students Pepper-Sprayed at Protest. April 4 (Retrievable online at

Medina, J. (2012). Two-year College, Squeezed, Sets 2-Tier Tuition, The New York Times,March 29 (Retrievable online at