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Students and local residents will no longer be able to repeat recreational courses at California Community Colleges in fall 2013 under a final change passed today by the system's Board of Governors.

In the wake of recessionary budget cuts, the new rule is designed to shift resources away from courses such as tennis and painting in order to free up funds for more basic academic classes.

Students and community members had been able to repeat a class as many as four times under previous rules governing the system's 112 colleges. Supporters of recreational courses have suggested the change would undermine student health and eliminate access to campus offerings that motivate students to remain in college. We wrote about the change in May.

The new restriction exempts students repeating courses to fulfill University of California or California State University transfer requirements, such as performing arts students who need to take theater classes each semester. It also exempts student-athletes taking courses for intercollegiate competition and those who need to repeat professional courses mandated by law.

The board also initially approved policies that starting in 2014 would give enrollment priority to students who establish an education plan, participate in orientation, take assessment tests and have not accumulated more than 100 units. The changes are designed to move students through the community college system on a quicker pace, though some critics have raised concerns that some less-prepared students will fall through the cracks. We wrote about the proposal in January.

In a statement, Chancellor Jack Scott said the changes will "ensure the system is intelligently rationing classes at a time of scarce resources to provide more students with the opportunity to achieve their goals on time."

The board will take a final vote on prioritizing enrollment in September.


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