Monday, August 27, 2007

Number of full-time students has grown at Solano Community College

August 25, 2007

SCC's enrollment numbers down

By Nika Megino

Cosmetology students stroll through campus at Solano Community College Friday. The college announced overall enrollment was 11,061 for this fall semester, 1,022 less than a year ago. Of that number, 4,173 are full-time students Ð those taking 12 or more units Ð up from 3,179. (Photo by Zachary Kaufman)

FAIRFIELD - Although fewer students have enrolled for fall classes at Solano Community College, the number of full-time students has grown.

The overall enrollment was 11,061 as of Friday, a drop of 1,022 from a year ago. But the total isn't an accurate indication because students are still adding courses for the fall semester, college officials said.

The number of full-time student equivalents - every 12 units enrolled - has increased to 4,173 from 3,179 last year. This means full-time students comprise about 38 percent of the overall population at SCC.

Although the majority of SCC students aren't full-time students, the enrollment figures still pleased college officials, they said.

Although it's optimal for students to enroll full time, that it isn't always possible, said Kathy Rosengren,

interim vice president of academic affairs.

"The community college attracts so many different kinds of people that we are thrilled to have people who take a couple courses," Rosengren said. "It allows them to get their education."

Total student population and number of full-time students won't be confirmed until the end of the semester because some people add classes late and others take courses that start mid-semester, said Rob Simas, director of research and planning.

Although the number of registered students seems to have hit a minor decline, they consider it more of a flat trend, officials said. The figures could relate to the job market, Simas added.

"The other dynamic with community colleges is the traditionally dynamic of work . . . as the job market gets better, people go to work instead of coming to community college," Simas said. "As the market gets worse, people have more free time (to take courses)."

But SCC's enrollment trend differs from what is occurring in the Los Rios Community College District, which consists of four community colleges across Sacramento.

About 78,000 students registered for courses in the Los Rios district - an increase of 8,000 over last year. Los Rios Chancellor Brice Harris said reasons for the increase include a growth in the Sacramento community, affordable college fees, "a lagging economy and an expansion of the district's Folsom Lake campus."

Opening SCC's Vallejo Center may increase the total student population, Rosengren said. The $22.3 million, 44,000-square-foot facility will serve more than 3,000 students.

SCC is taking an active approach to enrollment, Rosengren and Simas said. The college has an enrollment management group and plans to increase its marketing by hiring a full-time public information officer.

The college has added more online courses. Online courses and hybrid courses - in which students do half of the work online and half in the classroom - fill quickly, Simas said.

The college also does its best to offer courses at unusual times - at night and throughout the weekend - to accommodate students who work, Rosengren added. Many students who work full-time and attend the community college to further their education or make a career change, Simas said.

"Everyone needs to be in community college. I really believe in our California community college system," Rosengren said. "Part of its mission is life-long learning. For some people, it's their second chance to get in the area of education. It gives them an opportunity they might have missed."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Reach Nika Megino at 427-6953 or

By the numbers

Semester Overall Full-time

Fall 2007 11,062 4,173

Fall 2006 12,084 3,179

Fall 2005 12,431 3,283

Source: Solano Community College

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