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Santa Monica College 2-tier course pricing illegal
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SANTA MONICA . (AP) — The state attorney general's office determined that a now-aborted, two-tier course pricing plan at Santa Monica College was illegal, a community college official said Wednesday.

The fee proposal called for offering some high-demand, three-unit classes for $540, even though the standard per-unit cost for classes will be $46 this summer.

California Community Colleges chancellor Jack Scott said earlier this month that he believed the fee program wasn't allowed under the Education Code, and he asked the state attorney general's office for advice. Community college fees are set by the governor and Legislature.

Discussions were concluded last week, with the state attorney general's office agreeing with Scott's interpretation of the Education Code, said Paige Marlatt Dorr, the chancellor's office spokeswoman. There was no written opinion.

Santa Monica College spokesman Bruce Smith said in an email that the college won't comment until it receives notice from the attorney general's office.

Scott previously said he sympathized with the attempt by Santa Monica College to serve students during tough economic times by making high-demand classes more available.

The proposal came after more than $800 million was cut from community college budgets in the past three years. Santa Monica College has cut more than 1,000 courses, meaning students are forced to stay longer to get the classes needed to transfer to another university.

The school's self-funded, nonprofit Advance Your Dreams program was meant to fill in some of those gaps. A pilot program this summer would have offered 50 additional courses.

Santa Monica College trustees voted April 6 to cancel the fee plan after student protesters were pepper-sprayed at a board meeting.