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

El Camino facing budget cuts and hiring freeze if student enrollment doesn’t increase

Academic Senate President Charlene Brewer-Smith reads an announcement during the Academic Senate’s third meeting of the fall semester on Tuesday, Oct. 3. (Ma. Gisela Ordenes | The Union)

Reduced spending on student and staff services and a faculty hiring freeze would be necessary in the next two years if El Camino College doesn’t meet the 3,500 student enrollment increase required by California.

Vice President of Finance and Special Projects Josh Troesh spoke about the possible cutbacks during the Oct. 3 Academic Senate meeting.

“Based on our current numbers, we would need 3,500 more students in order to not have a reduction in income,” Troesh said to The Union after the meeting. “If we get zero out of that 3,500 students, that would be a $17 million to $24 million cut in the budget.”

State funding for community colleges is based on the number of students. The basis for determining how many full-time equivalent students a community college has is based on headcount.

“In the past, it was all based on how many butts were sitting in how many seats,” Troesh said.

The current budget is based on an emergency funding formula the state put in place before the pandemic.

“When the [non-emergency] funding formula comes into full effect, and we go back off of this emergency funding, we’re going to start being paid based on what our actual enrollment and our actual success criteria for students is,” Troesh said.

The basis for computing how much money a college would get was changed when California moved to the Student-Centered Funding Formula.

“Now the funding formula is about 75%, based on the number of students we have, and about 25% based on other criteria, like graduation rates, and how many certificates are offered, and success rates and those types of things,” Troesh said.

The emergency funding situation will end in the 2025-26 academic year.

“As faculty, because we’re okay in the minute, we don’t think that anything is going to happen; so [Troesh] is saying it, he’s sounding the alarm,” Academic Senate President Charlene Brewer-Smith said.

Brewer-Smith said everyone needs to take the matter seriously.

“Faculty needs to know that this is real, this is happening,” Brewer-Smith said. “It’s like the warning, the writing is on the wall of what is going to happen.”

Vice President of Academic Affairs Carlos Lopez said El Camino is working hard to generate enrollment and to bring students back. Lopez said efforts include call centers making phone calls and sending text messages to past and prospective students.

“[Targeted populations] are like a student who started the application process, but didn’t finish the application, didn’t enroll, if they didn’t, or they only enrolled for one class instead of two or three or four classes,” he said.

Lopez said El Camino is also building larger schedules to accommodate more students coming back.

“We’re experimenting with new short-term courses that we hadn’t done before. Previously, we had full semester courses, and then a first eight weeks and a second eight weeks,” Lopez said.

Lopez said the college is also adding 10 and 12 week long courses. Students who enroll late, after the semester usually starts, will now have options.

Lopez said he is optimistic El Camino will reach the 3,500 target.

“We saw a big increase in enrollment last spring, we saw another big increase in the summer, we’re still seeing more than a 9% to 10% increase,” Lopez said.

College officials will continue to monitor enrollment and what effect it will have on the El Camino budget.

“It will be an interesting couple of years,” Troesh said.

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