Glendale Community College officials estimate that enrollment of full-time students won’t reach their expected goal this year as the college continues to recover from years of tightening its budget to respond to financial cuts made by the state.
By the end of the 2013-14 academic year, officials predict they will have 1.1% more full-time equivalent students enrolled than the prior year, although they had hoped for a 2% increase.
Glendale Community College receives $4,636 in state funds for each full-time equivalent student it serves.
During the entire 2013-14 school year, officials estimate the college will have served 15,123 full-time equivalent students, an increase of 169 students over the previous year.
However, Supt./President David Viar said it’s unlikely the college will hit its 2% enrollment growth goal for the year.
However, for the spring session which started last week, officials estimate there will be 215 fewer full-time equivalent students compared to last spring, when there were 7,192. Officials are still waiting for the final numbers to shake out because students could drop classes in the early portion of the session.
Mary Mirch, vice president of instructional services, said the college may not reach its enrollment goal because it’s been offering fewer classes in response to the state budget crisis and more students have been landing on wait lists.
“Students could be thinking to themselves, ‘I’m not sure I trust them anymore,’” she said.
“It was a statewide problem — not having enough seats,” she added. “We’ve got to communicate that we have the classes [now]…We flipped the switch.”
In Glendale, college educators also grappled with tough decisions in order to provide more classes for students for the 2013-14 school year.
Under an agreement that employees reached in 2013, faculty members earn 35% less for teaching during the shorter winter and summer sessions than they would during the rest of the year.
About 140 faculty employees agreed to the cuts, allowing the college to save $340,000 a year.
On the positive side, the college was able to start back up its winter session this year, which had been cut the past two years because of the college’s budget woes.
Roughly 730 full-time equivalent students enrolled in the recent winter session.
To attract more students, Mirch said college officials may propose moving its fall registration date to align with other community colleges in the Los Angeles area, including Pasadena City College.
In the meantime, the college trustees and administrators will continue to monitor enrollment figures each month.
By the beginning of the 2014-15 school year, state officials expect that local community colleges will be able to handle a 3% enrollment growth, said Ron Nakasone, executive vice president of administrative services at Glendale Community College.
“If that [goal] remains when the [state] budget is signed, that will be the college’s target,” he said.
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