A Community College’s Fate Affects Mine

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I was sitting in my boyfriend’s room in my pajamas, picking out classes when I opened the email informing me that my school had lost its accreditation and might close its doors next year.

It was definitely a shock, and I immediately felt sad. Just getting to college had been a struggle for me.

I dropped out of high school my sophomore year. I had a lot going on in my life. And even though I always planned to go back and get my diploma, there was still a fear in the back of my mind that somehow it wouldn’t work out.

Eventually I found a program called Gateway to College. It’s for high school students to get their diplomas and college credits at the same time, and it came with a full scholarship to City College.

This May, I got my high school diploma, and I began looking forward to eventually earning my Bachelors degree. But then I found out about the school’s loss of accreditation, and now I’m not sure what to think about my educational future.

City College insists that the school is fighting the ruling and working hard to earn back its accreditation by next year. All of the emails I’ve received assure me that the credits I’ve earned are valid and transferable to other institutions, but I worry that’s not the case. How will students even access their transcripts if the school closes its doors? That’s something City College admits they still have to figure out.

Meanwhile the school reports a drop in enrollment this semester. Fewer students means less money from the state, which will  make it even harder for the school to fix the problem.

For the most part, everyone I know who goes to City College says it’s about proximity. Students with fulltime jobs and families need to have an affordable community college in San Francisco. I have a car, but with gas prices and bridge toll, it’d be difficult for me to go anywhere else.

I plan to stay at City College as long as it’s an option, but all of this adds up to a sense of oncoming trouble, raising uncertainty about my academic future to a whole new level.

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