Community members who take personal enrichment courses at Napa Valley College will likely feel the impact of a new state mandate that restricts course repeatability.
Beginning in fall 2013, Napa Valley College students will not be allowed to repeatedly enroll in courses they could previously take up to four times.
The changes primarily focus on enrollment in physical education, performing arts and visual arts classes.
The new regulations will prevent students from repeating a credit course that they have already completed with a satisfactory grade — which is typically a D or higher by state standards, or a C or higher for students majoring in that particular field of study.
The California Community Colleges Board of Governors approved the regulations earlier this year. This is a state mandate that Napa Valley College is legally required to follow.
The primary impact will be felt by community members — also referred to as “lifelong learners” — who take physical education or arts courses for their own enrichment.
Kevin Luckey, dean of physical education and athletics, said that the college has added P.E. classes to help make up for the loss of repeatability. The classes that have been added are more advanced so that they comply with the new law.
Weight training, for example, is one of the more popular P.E. courses at Napa Valley College, and students have been able to repeat it up to three times. Beginning next fall, the class will no longer be repeatable, so the college has added an intermediate level of weight training that’s more advanced.
Unlike P.E., the offering of visual and performing arts courses will largely remain unchanged.
Erik Shearer, chair of the Arts and Humanities Division, said Napa Valley College knew these changes were coming several years ago and started eliminating repeatability in certain arts courses.
“It’s not as big of a deal here as it is with other colleges,” Shearer said, adding that lifelong learners make up a small percentage of students in P.E. and art.
Lifelong learners may still take more expensive fee-based courses through the college’s non-credit community education program — but there are limited offerings and many of those classes take place at the Upper Valley campus.
Some exceptions for repeating courses will apply, including students who need to meet transfer requirements for a University of California or a California State University campus, or for a legally mandated course. There is also an exception for students participating in intercollegiate athletics.
According to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, restricting repeat enrollment on certain courses will help the colleges focus on students who are pursuing a degree, plan to transfer to a four-year university, or are in need of job training.
In September, the chancellor’s office announced that enrollment priorities will be given to students with clear academic goals beginning in the fall of 2014.
Students who are progressing toward their educational goals will be allowed to register for courses ahead of students who don’t have an educational plan, aren’t making academic progress, or who accumulate far more units than necessary to transfer or earn a certificate or degree.