Thanks to the “Spring into Action! With +1 class” promotional message that was sent to thousands of students and posted on the school’s website, PCC is on its way to achieve its 2017 full-time equivalent students (FTES) goal of 25,257 students.
According to PCC’s latest FTES report from 2016-2017, which doesn’t report on non-credit completion and summer enrollment, the school’s FTES is now at 22,646 students and overall 93 percent of enrollment rate for classes. School administrators are focusing on reaching the state’s target at 23,502 FTES by the beginning of summer session.
“We’re actually working to hit the advance target we have for ourselves to capture additional funds,” school spokesman Alex Boekelheide said. “Our enrollment stays strong, despite a general statewide decline trend.”
CollegeBoard reported that community colleges’ enrollment fell from 44 percent in 2010 to 42 percent in 2014 and were only accountable for less than 25 percent of undergraduate enrollment in seven states. Boekelheide said that as the economy generates more jobs, people shift their focus on making money and thus, enrollment tends to decline.
Despite the reported trend, Boekelheide believes that PCC had seen some impressive attendance numbers. The Apportionment Attendance Report of 2015-2016 released by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office recorded that there were 23,502 FTES at PCC, exceeding the state’s original base goal. PCC’s high attendance numbers earned the school an additional $1.6 million of state funding. These extra dollars came from the other colleges that didn’t reach their attendance goals.
“We don’t get the extra [funds] all the time,” Boekelheide said, “It’s a one-time thing.”
With only about 3,000 more FTES to achieve during summer enrollment, PCC administrators are positive about reaching 2017 FTES goal.
Dr. Terrence Giugni, PCC’s new Vice President of Instruction, confirmed that the school’s attendance numbers are right on track to the target.
“Currently we are in a good position in regards to state’s funding,” Giugni said in a telephone interview, “[The enrollment] are not going up as they did last year, but we are still growing and stabilizing, which is good.”
This spring semester, PCC provided about 82,000 spots for students, divided into 2,573 course sections. Giugni explained that some classes are already at 100% enrollment, but those that are not filled average a 92% enrollment rate.
He also expressed hope to improve enrollment in the future summer session by working with administrators in adjusting classes to the students’ demand.
“We could adjust and offer more of certain classes like math and English, where there is a really high demand for, and offer fewer classes that are not as high-demanded,” Guigni said.
Professor David Douglass, Dean of Natural Sciences, pointed out that even though students’ attendance through winter intersection was lower, most of the spring classes in his department are 100% enrolled at the moment.
“It was very interesting to watch the enrollment in my area,” professor Douglass said, “We grew beyond our own expectation last year, and we are in a very good shape right now in spring.”
Emeline Beltran and Allison Stutzka contributed to this story.