The extent to which Pasadena City College will be impacted financially due to the recent campus closure is unknown. However, the Chancellor’s Office has said that funding for PCC this academic year will not be impacted if enrollment drops, according to Alex Boekelheide, a PCC spokesperson.
PCC, like many other college campuses, has been working to transition to online operations, while endeavoring to ensure continued success for students and faculty employment.
Amidst the changes being seen day to day, there remains the unseen: the fiscal impact that this transition will have on California’s community colleges.
“In the more immediate term, at its meeting Wednesday the board granted Dr. Endrijonas and the fiscal team expanded authority to authorize expenses, pay vendors, and grant leaves to employees as this emergency unfolds,” Boekelheide said in an email.
The shift to online classes has not brought immediate financial challenges to PCC, and neighboring community colleges are on the watch for how online learning might influence financial change.
Los Angeles City College (LACC) intends for all classes to go online, so investments for software and other things required for online education are being considered. Upcoming fiscal impact, however, is unknown.
The state of California provides money, or apportionment, for various programs offered at California community colleges. The campus’ state apportionment is updated bi-yearly and in some cases amended by the Chancellor’s Office. Student attendance is one of the factors that the state of California uses to determine apportionment.
“We just don’t know yet. There will be some students who drop because they don’t want to attend online…apportionment is based on the number of students attending classes,” said Dean of Academic Affairs at LACC, Carol Kozeracki.
Glendale Community College (GCC) is not experiencing any financial impact as a result of campus closure at this time, and their full time and adjunct faculty are still working. Future impact at this college is also unclear.
“Our faculty are trying to learn the best way to teach as effectively as possible. As far as the fiscal impact, I just don’t know what that would be yet,” said Director of Communications and Community Relations at GCC, Drew Sugars.
As each campus makes the transition to online education they will continually monitor the fiscal environment for any needed adjustments. Despite budgeting and preparation to secure finances, campus closures will have an impact on the people whom the colleges serve.
Local community members, including students and campus workers, see community college campuses as a channel for resources such as professional development, food banks, access to technology, and library services. With colleges going online, though, these services will become limited in availability, if not entirely closed off.
“Going forward the picture is much less clear as the economic impact of this virus, the shutdowns, and any other effects are unknown at this point,” Boekelheide explained.