Enrollment dip discussed during budget meeting

By Dorany Pineda

The College Budget Committee reviewed the enrollment outlook for the fall 2017 semester on Monday and found it had decreased.

The  Fall 2017 Credit Enrollment Comparison found a nine percent dip in student enrollment this semester compared to enrollment in 2016’s fall semester.

The drop from fall 2016’s 30,011 students to the current 25,585 is due mostly to a low unemployment rate and a problematic Student Information System roll-out, according to the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Full Time Equivalent Student Projections report.

The loss of enrollments is approximately 5,000 FTES.

Vice president of student services Julie Benavides said that the census numbers reported in this semester’s enrollment should rise slightly, as administrative workers are putting in a lot of extra overtime to manually input student documents.

But administrators are making other efforts to remedy the negative effects of SIS’s shakey implementation at the start of this semester.

“A couple of strategies that we’re planning to put into place [to boost enrollment] is something that’s called boom days, or a boom festival, and we need everybody’s help,” Benavides said to the committee.

“We’re going to really try and capture enrollment for the late start in October and adding in additional courses for students to fill,” said Benavides.

The Boom Festival, which is set to happen next week and the following, is an opportunity for departments to promote themselves and fill up classes that are being offered for the second session, Benavides said.

Eighty-one late-start classes, with a possible 10 more, are being offered to students as another method of boosting class enrollment, according to a board member.

Also on the agenda was the status of the staffing pattern for Human Resources Committee policy, which dean of institutional advancement Ruben Arenas said little work has been done on.

“We fell victim to the same sort of process. In other words, we lost about half of our staff over the summer, so the prioritization on that became a little bit lower,” Arenas said.

He suggested to the committee that they make it a goal over the next year to complete the staffing pattern, and to develop an interim approach.

Several committee members asked about the staffing by the committee last year, to which Jeffrey Hernandez from the Academic Senate responded, saying that they were reviewed but not to the satisfaction of everyone involved.

“Rather than continue to go back, we’re going to revise the hiring policy and include in it an up-to-date staffing pattern,” Hernandez said.

Part of the issue is that a lot of the staff who are being hired are in information technology and infrastructure, but not enough in admissions or the academic departments, faculty member Jose Ramirez said.

The next Budget Committee meeting will be Oct. 16.

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