By Lisa Donchak
Learning Support Services, provider of the Modified Supplemental Support program that many students rely upon, will be reducing the level of academic assistance that they offer students.
Until this quarter, students were able to seek individual tutors free of cost for all classes offered at UC Santa Cruz. However, starting this term, no tutoring will be offered for any of the 35-40 courses that use Modified Supplemental Instruction (MSI).
While some believe that MSI is enough to support students, many worry that the cut of individual tutors will make it harder for students to seek help.
According to Holly Gritsch de Cordova, director of Learning Support Services, "UCSC has been and continues to be the [UC] which provides the least [academic support] proportionally" to its students.
Randa Roland, a chemistry lecturer at UCSC, has taught classes that are supported by MSI and believes that the program is very effective.
"I was really appreciative to have the support for the class, and I think that the students who took advantage of it were really glad to take advantage of that help," Roland said.
Student Affairs is the department that supplies funding for Learning Support Services on a term-by-term basis.
According to Ellen Ziff, administrative specialist for the Student Fee Advisory Committee, tutoring services cuts are part of broader issues.
"Student Affairs is still recovering from recent budget cuts across the division," Ziff said, citing these cuts as the causes of the decreased resources given to supplemental instruction programs.
However, Ziff added that Learning Support Services received the largest amount of new funding of any Student Affairs supported program for the 2006-2007 year.
"The Student Fee Advisory Committee rates [Learning Support Services] as a very important student service," Ziff said.
For Cordova, the biggest problem with this cut is that the program "does not allow all students to use educational resources to reach their highest potential."
Cordova said that two options were being considered to increase available funds for MSI programming in order to reinstate tutoring for all classes: a referendum which would add a student fee of $7 per quarter, or proportional contributions from academic departments.
According to Cordova, students who felt they were struggling in MSI-supported classes could obtain a "Request for Tutorial Services." Provided these students were already attending MSI for the class in question, they could still receive tutoring in these classes.