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

College officials weigh in on possible budget cuts if enrollment quota not met

Academic Senate President Charlene Brewer-Smith, left, and Academic Senate Vice President of Educational Policies Darcie McClelland present an item on the agenda at the Academic Senate meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 7. (Joseph Ramirez | The Union)

Despite returning to in-person classes after the COVID-19 pandemic, student enrollment has not met El Camino College expectations.

Much of the state funding for community colleges depends on student enrollment and meeting quotas. When a community college is not meeting quotas, funding can be reduced.

“We could face a 15% to 20% cut in state funding from California if we don’t have our enrollment quotas and our goal is to have 18,500 students enrolled,” Academic Senate Vice President of Educational Policies Darcie McClelland said.

McClelland is also an associate professor of biology who has been working at El Camino since 2016. During the Nov. 7 Academic Senate meeting, McClelland also said she has concerns about enrollment rates for future semesters at El Camino.

“[The] winter and spring semesters will be very telling of our enrollment targets,” McClelland said.

Faculty in the Industry and Technology program and the Science Department have hands-on labs that require students to be physically present. The online option for the same course can be more difficult for students.

“The Science Department has not been too negatively affected with enrollment and students taking my Biology classes still have to come in person since they are hands-on labs,” McClelland said.

However, Extended Opportunity Programs and Services Counselor Maria Garcia said interest in online courses and even virtual counseling sessions is still present.

“A large number of students still want to take classes virtually and even make their counseling appointments with me online since the pandemic in 2020,” Garcia said.

Many factors influence students to want an on-campus option for college classes instead of online.

“Student enrollment was very crazy during the pandemic and we lost half of our EOPS students because many did not have computers for online learning, some decided not to resume classes until things would re-open at El Camino College,” Garcia said.

This has been the first full academic year where classes have resumed back to in-person after online only learning.

During the pandemic, state funding to community colleges increased for emergency reasons. The emergency funding related to the pandemic will be coming to an end according to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2023-2024 budget proposals for California Community Colleges.

“Right now El Camino College is in a hold harmless classification ever since the pandemic, until possibly 2026,” McClelland said.

Academic Senate Vice President of Finance and Special Projects Josh Troesh said to instructors at the meeting with concerns about the increased direction of online learning.

“We are balancing between student needs versus student demands with this situation on online learning and needs will be placed higher than demands,” Troesh said.

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