WALNUT - The number of likes on the Mt. SAC Facebook page reached 778 in one week, and that doesn't count the scattering of happy faces and exclamation points.
Students on the site were reacting to a college-generated post announcing it will add 130 classes for the spring semester due to a bump in funding of between $800,000 and $1 million as a result of Proposition 30.
In student terms, it could mean the difference between staying another year or graduating and moving on to a four-year school.
"Good. I need to get my classes, (I'm) hoping to graduate after fall semester," posted Loren Corrales.
Each year for the last several years, as students get permission to log in to the college computer to sign up for classes, they've faced fewer class sections and greater frustration.
When they can't enroll in a required class, that puts off graduation. Some students report staying three, four or five years to complete their AA degrees or gain a required vocational certificate so they can join the workforce.
Other students on the site say they've had trouble this past week with the college's server getting stuck and not being allowed to log in. Since registration opened Jan. 16 for the spring semester which begins Feb. 25, the race is on for classes.
"I register tomorrow and it better be working," wrote another student on the popular site which has had more than 81,000 visits. "I'm already freaking out thinking about getting in a class that only allows 16 students and can't handle any more stress."
Mt. SAC President and CEO Bill Scroggins said the extra classes means there will be 4,000 more seats in classes in the coming semester. That will provide access to about 1,000 more students.
The rest of the numbers are not that impressive.
For a college - the largest single campus college in the state - with a $135 million general fund, the extra funding from the voter-approved education measure represents eight-tenths of a percent of the budget, he said.
However, without Prop. 30, the community college would have had to chop $8.6 million more and deny access to 8,000 students. Now it will get about $1 million more and is adding access to 1,000 more students, the college reported.
"After five years of bad news, it is nice to come out with a press release that is good news," Scroggins said.
But the college is nowhere near returning to pre-2008 funding levels, he said. "We've cut 12 percent of our peak enrollment, so adding back 1 percent will not get us back to where we were before," Scroggins said.
"Still, it is not a small amount. It is 130 more classes. But it will not meet the demand. There will still be classes that will fill up in the first few days," he said.
The college is adding classes in biology, chemistry, math, English, speech, political science, history, earth sciences and psychology - core classes students need for graduation.
But Scroggins said they're also backfilling classes in vocational fields such as nursing, child development and hotel and restaurant management.
For example, those studying to be licensed vocational nurses can now enter in the spring term or in the middle of the program, as those classes are added back to the curriculum, he said.
"That's our job. To provide skilled people for these occupations," Scroggins said.
For student Briana Griffin, more classes need to be added to the veterinary technician program. "The two-year RVT program is now taking me five years minimum because I can never get into the class," she wrote on the Mt. SAC Facebook page.
"I speak for many of us when I say we are frustrated," she concluded.