The college is expecting more than $3 million in additional state funding this year due to increased enrollment, according to college officials.
Robert Miller, senior vice president of business and college services, explained that with over 27,000 students currently enrolled on campus, more funding from the state would be made available to increase sections for the college.
Interim Dean of Enrollment Management Karen Semien also explained that the total head count continues to grow each day.
“Our current enrollment targets fluctuate as fall attendance records continue to be submitted,” Semien said. “I am happy to say that the college is on track to meet our enrollment targets for the 2013-14 school year.”
Not only is the college able to receive more funding from this academic year, but it will also receive retroactive funding for 2011-2012, when the state did not fully fund the California Community Colleges because of the recession, according to Miller. That amounts to 18 percent of this year’s Full Time Equivalent Student (FTES) load.
One FTES, the unit the state uses to measure and allocate how much money to give each community college, is the equivalent of a 12-unit load.
“The state is allowing us to recapture that 18 percent in this academic year,” Miller said.
There is a catch, however.
“If we do not recapture that 18 percent, we lose the ability to do so moving forward,” he said.
Overall, the college would receive $1.7 million for the 2013-2014 year and $1.8 million from the 2011-2012 year, according to Miller. This adds up to an expected $3.5 million in funding from the state.
However, Miller cautioned that it is not likely the college will receive all $3.5 million.
“Some of that is dependent upon whether or not we are going to get redevelopment agency funding that is owed us [from the state],” he said.
So far the college has only received $700,000 of the $3.5 million.
The district is still hopeful that it will receive more money, even if it may not be as much as it hopes for.
The college is adding more opportunities for students to enroll in late start classes, which will help increase the FTES for this year, according to Semien.
“The college has maximized our course offerings in face-to-face, online, hybrid, night, and weekend courses,” she said. Weekend courses begin Feb. 8 and online courses begin March 17.
Cynthia Olivo, dean of counseling, discussed the benefits of adding weekend and online courses for students who need the extra units.
“Since we serve a large student body, it is imperative for us to continuously figure out ways to meet student demand for courses. Here are two more options,” she said. “ I’m especially thrilled for students who work and have family responsibilities—these two methods may prove to be helpful fitting into their schedules.”
Miller agreed that it was good to increase class availability in order to have more students meet full time status, which is 12 units or more.
“Right now the average unit load is 9.61 units,” he said. “We want to drive the average unit load up… so that students are able to get the number of courses they need.”
Miller also explained that the college is changing its system of allocation sections to the different academic schools to increase the availability of high demand courses.
In the past, the college would distribute courses based on an old model. The new method is driven by data for the demand of each type of class offered.
“A data driven method allocates FTES to that school based upon evidence of what students need,” Miller said. “[This is] based upon what the data says are needed for students to complete in an efficient matter in order to get a degree an AA or transfer.”
The new system will be put in effect in the upcoming summer session, which begins May 19, according to Miller.
For now, the college is excited to have more students attend classes, giving it an opportunity to grow academically.
“We are excited that the State has increased our funding, allowing us to provide these much needed courses to students so that they can meet their goals in a timely manner,” Semien said.