Over 27,000 students are currently attending PCC this semester, yet the amount of students enrolled in classes is lower compared to that of last fall, leaving the administration to look for an explanation.
“We were really encouraged by the number of enrollment we have,” said Valerie Foster, President of the Academic Senate. “This is the first semester the administration seems alarmed about it.”
Though it was expected for students to drop within the first few weeks of classes, another reason that is suspected by administration is the growing economy and low unemployment rate.
“When the economy is good, students take fewer classes,” said Dr. Terry Giugni, Assistant Superintendent/Vice President of Instruction.
While there are many students attending PCC, they’re enrolled in less classes because they might be doubling their work hours instead, therefore affecting the enrollment rate.
“This issue is being faced among the various community colleges in California as well,” said Dr. Giugni.
According to a recent article published by KPCC, half of the 114 community colleges in California are facing enrollment drops this year.
“[The enrollment rate at PCC] is down enough that we’re a little concerned,” said Dr. Giugni.
“One of the things we’ll be doing is surveying students to find out [what’s going on].”
For some students, like Erica Juan, monetary reasons have kept them from enrolling in several classes each semester.
“Maintaining the workload is difficult because I have to pay out of pocket and taking more classes is too expensive for me,” said Juan.
One way the administration has taken action is by initiating the PCC Promise, a program that is designated to help graduates from any public or private high school within the PCC District pay for their first year’s tuition.
“The PCC Promise is something to help enrollment because … if you don’t have to pay for classes you should want to enroll in more,” said Dr. Giugni. “It’s helped removed the financial barrier.”
This is just one of several initiatives the administration is taking to figure out ways they can support students.
The Academic Senate will hold a student panel consisting of several students to discuss why they have dropped classes on October 9th.
“If [there] is something that the faculty can improve upon, we want to do it,” said Foster.