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Study: California State Northridge Students Hit Hard by Recession

California students are being asked to pay more but are getting less, according to some of the findings of a survey of 2,000 students at California State Northridge by the UCLA Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles.

About half of the respondents said their parents were providing less financial support to them because of job losses and reduced salaries. Nearly 59 percent of students said they were giving more financial resources to support their families.

Another two-thirds of students were having trouble finding classes they need to obtain a degree and three-quarters said it might take another year or more to finish.

The report, “Squeezed From All Sides,” released on Tuesday, blames California’s recession and education cuts for pushing students to the breaking point, with some reporting they must forgo college.

“We are overburdening these young people – many of whom are the first in their family to get a degree and many, whose parents are struggling – by policies that place the onus on them, said Dr. Patricia Gandara, a UCLA education professor.

Co-authors Gandara and Gary Orfield said the cuts to education are problematic because higher education supports new jobs. The 23-campus Cal State University system produces the vast majority of bachelor’s degrees in the state and serves a diverse student population, which will provide California’s future workforce, they note.

Cal State Northridge has tried to offset some of the sting of budget cuts, for example by encouraging those with enough credits to graduate to take that step, thereby freeing $7 million in financial aid for new students, said provost Harold Hellenbrand.

“We’re all managing, but it’s like you’re skating on ice and you can begin to hear the ice cracking under you,” Hellenbrand said. “You realize you better keep skating because the crack are beginning to open up.”

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