VCCCD enrollment increases for spring 2008 semester
Published: Thursday, February 7, 2008
Updated: Thursday, December 11, 2008 10:12
Enrollment is up this spring at all Ventura County Community College District campuses.
Compared to the Spring 2007 semester, enrollment over the three colleges has risen 5.81 percent, equivalent to almost 1,700 newly enrolled students. Ventura College alone brought in 782 new students., according to the district's production database.
The Ventura Promise, online classes and the declining economy may have contributed to the increase, said Ramiro Sanchez, executive vice president of Ventura College. While the Ventura Promise covers the expenses of a recent high school grad's first year at Ventura College, Sanchez said he believes that if tuition continues to stay at $20 a unit, enrollment will continue to rise in the district, especially since California community colleges have the least expensive tuition in the United States.
"When jobs are available, students want to retrain or pick-up another skill," Sanchez said. "We may have picked up students who had gotten laid off."
The increase of available online classes is also a contributing factor, said Instructional Lab Tech Antonio Huante. "Online classes are more convenient," he said. "Students have busy lives and online classes provide flexibility."
Effects of the growing enrollment are already being felt throughout the campuses. Fuller-than-usual classes, impacted departments and a growing parking problem are a few effects students and faculty are noticing.
Lisa Miller, dean of mathematics at Moorpark College, believes that the increase in enrollment benefits the college. Group work and peer interaction seem to be what the larger classes are leaning toward.
The math department at both Ventura and Moorpark colleges are impacted. Ventura College's math department alone has seen a 10 percent increase this semester, the districts production database states. Math Professor Donna Beatty's calculus class began this semester with 10 students over capacity.
"The problem with larger classes is that students do not get the one-on-one attention," Beatty said.
Adjustments are in progress. Hiring committees are being formed and Miller said her college is planning on offering more sections to accommodate the growth.
Outside the classroom, two nursing students from Ventura College, Farrah Zavala and Savannah Shiles, deal with the parking daily, another effect of the increased enrollment.
"Every city college is pretty much the same, with the out-of-hand parking," Shiles said. "There's too many students. You just have to know the right times to park."
Money from the increase will be seen at the beginning of the fiscal school year 2008-2009 and will be distributed among the colleges, Sanchez said.