City College of San Fran offering free classes despite losing accreditation over financial concerns

The City College of San Francisco plans to continue to offer the community free classes this fall, despite having been stripped of its accreditation over a shortage of money.

According to a class listing for next semester, class titles will include “Quiltmaking, Arts and Crafts for Older Adults,” and “Tai Chi for Health.”

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) announced July 6, that CCSF may close next July due, in part, to an inability to spend wisely.

“City College of San Francisco has still not addressed, and appears to lack the capacity to address, the many financial management deficiencies identified by the 2012 Evaluation Team Report,” according to a letter released by the ACCJC announcing the decision.

Overspending on features like free classes apparently persisted despite an early warning that came in 2012 in the form of a bill which passed the state Senate ordering colleges to drastically scale back on free classes. That bill remains mired in the State Assembly.

The options for the Fall 2013 semester — updated after it lost its accreditation — will include “Weaving Tapestry,” “Quiltmaking,” “Baking and Pastry,” “Tai Chi for Health” and “Arts and Crafts for Older Adults.”

This policy of giving free classes costs the school $400k per year, according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

ACCJC had also chided the college for spending 92 percent of its budget on salaries and benefits last year.

Rather than scale back this year, however, a draft of the college’s budget for the upcoming school year reveals that total certified salaries will actually increase by $338,474 from last school year, and salaries and fringe benefits will increase $8,453,570.

The school, which is the largest college in California, was notified last week by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges that it will lose accreditation on July 31, 2014, leaving students without federal financial aid and potentially voiding their ability to transfer credits to other schools. The college, which currently serves more than 85,000 students, has until July 31 to appeal.

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