Don’t overlook local students

Alexandra Wilcox

For the natives of Santa Barbara, City College has always been an attractive option for an education. It’s nearby, relatively inexpensive and has a plethora of interesting classes.

Somehow, Santa Barbara’s little secret was leaked to the world, and now influxes of students from all over want to be a part of this top-ranked school.

The problem now is whether a community college can hold such a number of incoming students and still be true to the locals they serve.

It’s no wonder so many want to attend City College. Its ideal location alone attracts tons of people from across the state, country and the globe.

In fact, City College reports that roughly 30 percent of the fall semester’s student body is non-local.

That number may rise now due to increased attention on recruiting out-of-area students.

Because of this attention on out-of-area students, locals are rightfully concerned that City College may no longer be an affordable and viable option of higher education for local students.

Perhaps the reason for the decline in local enrollment is City College not doing enough to help local students, causing them to leave the area for other colleges and cities willing to address their needs.

The college seems to pay no attention to students who commute here from out-lying cities like Lompoc and Santa Maria, just to attend a top-ranked college.

They also neglect the issue that some full-time students have to work full time just to make rent.

The duty of City College is to serve the actual community. To protect against declining local high school graduate enrollment, City College needs provide services that work to help local student problems, not look outside the city for students.

However, City College seems more than willing to accommodate out-of-area students rather than the natives. In fact, City College may be building a 600-roomed dormitory to attract more out-of-towners.

But will the proposed dormitories be available for locals who cannot afford the rent in this city? Or will only international and out-of-state students be eligible for such a convenience?

If City College decides to move ahead on the dormitory, the dormitory should be open for all students, giving the locals a reason to stay and attend the college.

It is not that out-of-area and international students are unwanted here by locals; they are. The real problem is that Santa Barbara is too small of a community to provide enough affordable housing for all the incoming students, even with a dormitory.

The city cannot stretch its limited housing availability just for students, with the city reporting that the housing vacancy rate is a measly three percent.

Increased influxes of students will only challenge that rate.

To fully combat declining enrollment and housing costs, City College needs to provide more services helping local students find a way to live in Santa Barbara.

City College is a great school and I do not mind sharing. I just want to make sure everyone gets an equal share.