Fewer Students Enrolling
For many students on a limited budget, community college is a convenient and inexpensive way to earn their undergraduate degree by ultimately transferring to a university of their choice.
Since the tuition increase at Santa Monica College, many students are finding it increasingly difficult to afford the rising costs, which are inevitably leading to fewer students enrolling in classes.
This problem of low enrollment is affecting the student body and the faculty as a whole.
Brandon Schlig, an undecided major at SMC, said he was very disappointed and frustrated because two classes he really wanted to take, auto shop and an architecture class, were cancelled. Schlig said that many people had great interest in taking auto shop.
Nicole Betterman, music major, is planning to drop her photography class because the material required for the class is very expensive. The materials for the course range from $500 to $1,500, which must be bought the first week of the semester. She was very irate when she tried to purchase a parking permit at Station C and the person informed her that she had to pay her class fees before she could obtain a parking permit. When interviewed, Betterman only had a few days left to pay before she could be completely dropped from her classes, so she ended up paying $500 for both of her classes and for her parking permit.
Betterman said, "Santa Monica College should offer students the possibility to give increments on the tuition, as they do at Loyola Marymount," where she earned a degree in photography.
Dana Ponder, who works at Station C and is also a part-time student at SMC, thinks that low enrollment is the result of the cancellation of many classes. She said that students come to pay for classes only to be told they had been cancelled.
Not only are many classes being cancelled but also many more are half-empty.
"Two of my classes are half
empty- - my photography class, and my English class is so empty, it's ghostly!" Melissa Sterling said, incredulously.
The administration is doing everything they can to placate the student body, for example, if one class is cancelled they will place the student into another course during the the same period.
Georgia Bauman, director of instructional services said, "When classes are cancelled we try to make suggestions of other open sections in which the student might consider enrolling."
Another possibility for this change in enrollment might be the onset of online classes. More and more students are utilizing this new convenience.
Despite the attempts by the administration to remedy this current condition, some students are very concerned that this problem will possibly get worse.
"You can't help but wonder if this will be a bigger problem in the future. If the fees continue to go up more and more, students will be forced to take less classes," said one student, broadcasting major at SMC.
The full outcome of this semester's enrollment will not be certain until about the third week of this term.