By Grace Huntsinger, Staff Writer, the Cuestonian, originally published on 10/16/12
Tutoring at Cuesta College has taken a hit in recent years. Hours and manpower in the tutoring center have been steadily declining due to school-wide budget cuts. “The labs have a lot of people. It’s like a class,” second year student Joaquin Mendez said. “There is not a lot individual help. There is one person for the group tutoring.” Mendez is one of many Cuesta students who need extra help in order to pass classes and make progress in a degree. One-on-one tutoring, since for this year it is not offered for any subject, only happens when only one student shows up per session. “I just know that it affected me because I couldn’t take my next class,” said third year Gaby Sepulveda.
Tutoring through Cuesta is offered at no cost to any student who needs it. However, “free” does not always mean “available” or “convenient,” according to Mary Hastings, Cuesta’s Tutorial Services supervisor. Students are only able to sign up for one, 50-minute tutoring session a week. Most of the time there are many students in these group sessions, creating a classroom environment in which some questions may not be addressed due to time restrictions, Mendez said.
Another deterrent for some students is that student demand is the driving force behind the classes that are offered in tutoring. “If I just have one student who wants tutoring for one class, they may not get tutoring,” said Hastings. While this is a process designed to reach the greatest number of students for the greatest amount of tutoring, a significant number of students fall through the system’s cracks because of it, according to Hastings. “I tried to maintain the status quo for as long as possible,” Hastings said. “We are having a paradigm shift in the program.” Many of the shifts within the department have to do with liquidating positions and combining programs in order to streamline the administrative side without affecting the students too much.
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