A steady decline in the number of students attending Santa Ana College since spring 2012 has district officials concerned. College enrollment follows the condition of the nation’s economy.
When the country is experiencing a downturn, there are more people enrolled in school. As the economy improves, fewer people attend school to work more.
Overall, the economy has improved since the recession in 2008, in spite of a recent dip in 2015 and 2016 of almost 2 percent in market value, according to Statista, a leading company that collects data and information.
“Declining enrollment is a budgetary issue. [Santa Ana College] could lose its large college status and state funding,” the Dean of Instruction and Student Services at Santiago Canyon College, Jim Kennedy said.
According to the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, a measure of student workload, known as an FTES, is used in determining the eligibility for state funding of community colleges.
In 2010, during the recession, SAC enrollment numbers increased from 31,786 in the fall to its first peak of 46,772 in the spring. The college hit its highest student count in spring 2011, with a headcount of almost 50,000.
One year later, the number went down to 45,481 students. It dropped again by more than 10,000 by spring 2017, as shown by the CCCCO’s Enrollment Status Summary.
“Fewer students is less demand, which means less classes,” Board of Trustees member Phillip Yarbrough said, after citing a 3.1 percent gross domestic product increase.
To increase enrollment, SAC is adding more classes, with 238 units and 81 sections added to the business and chemistry departments for the 2018 fall, spring and intersession terms, according to a report read by SAC President Linda Rose at an October board meeting.
There will be a final report for this academic year in June 2018.