The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Students expected to feel effects of budget cuts

Students’ quality of education is not expected to diminish for the 07/08 year despite the worries over enrollment and the projected budget cuts.

“We want to continue to provide the best possible services and support for the students and we can do this by increasing enrollment,” Lovell Alford, academic affairs analyst, said.

Funding levels have to be maintained in order to keep student services and resources available including financial aid and the Equal Opportunity Program and Services, called EOP&S, which relies on a certain number of students being enrolled in credit courses.

EC’s funding is based on the enrollment level of Full Time Equivalent Students or FTES, and this number comes from a formula that analyzes credit courses and student contact hours and adds them up into blocks of credit then divides them by the full-time load.

California community colleges are funded in a way that if a college has a certain level of FTES in a given year and there is a drop in enrollment for the next year, the college will receive the same amount of funding as if enrollment never dropped. The state maintains this funding, called stabilization, for only one year because it gives colleges time to position themselves and find other sources of funding to ensure that programs and services are not cut.

Because stabilization is funded by the state for one year, EC can borrow from the next year by taking FTES from the summer term and adding them to the current FTES, thereby maintaining the 19,306 quota that ensures the same amount of funding from the state so that programs can remain consistent. The other option for the campus is to put up with the loss and cut back on programs.

It is expected that EC will have to “borrow from summer” for at least the next couple of years until it manages to increase enrollment to 19,306 and beyond.

“What’s happened this year is that our enrollment is up somewhere between three or four percent for the fall and spring semesters, so we are not going to have to borrow as many FTES for this coming year,” Ann Garten, community relations director said.

“One of the things we are really happy about is we’re lessening the number of summer FTES that we have to borrow and we’re going to continue to maintain our FTES and maintain the funding level from the state.”

A weak economy usually results in an increase in student enrollment, and a booming economy is correlated with a drop in student enrollment. The speculated reasons for the drop in student enrollment for 05/06 were attributed to students deciding to delay college because they had a stable financial situation and a rise in tuition prices.

In order to counteract the loss of enrollment, EC started the Enrollment Management Committee, which involves outreach to the community and analyzes the results of the research data.

“It gives us a better feel for trying to grow the number of students but also giving better services to the continuing students,” Dr. Arvid Spor, administrator of Enrollment Services and Enrollment Management Committee chairman, said.

The budget cuts announced this past January by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger are expected to eat about $5.8 million into the $103 million budget in the next year.

Despite the budget cuts and the enrollment being lower than usual, EC is in a better situation than many other colleges due to the large balance called the reserve.

Schwarzenneger and the legislature will probably increase tuition prices to offset the budget cuts.

A fee increase taxes all the systems. It creates a little bit of uncertainty and that effects FTES,” EC president Dr. Thomas Fallo said.

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