Skyline’s enrollment figures have hit an all-time high this semester, with roughly 10,500 students registered – an increase of 13% over Fall 08.
Official numbers will not be available until the census occurs, but the estimates provided give a definite impression of the growth in the student population Skyline is experiencing.
With UCs and CSUs cutting back the amount of students they are able to accept, all three sister colleges in the district are feeling the strain, both from waves of incoming high school graduates as well as students that were redirected from the university level.
Skyline is doing its best do deal with the influx of students, but without money – and budgets are only getting tighter – there is only so much they can do.
“We are offering about 6% more sections [this fall] than we did last fall,” said Victoria Morrow, President of Skyline College, “but the same will not be true for Spring.”
According to Morrow, the state will be imposing even more budget cuts that will make it impossible for Skyline to accommodate the increasing numbers of students.
Classes are already extremely full, as most students could attest to, and the situation is looking to be even more pronounced in the Spring semester. The school is seriously looking at a scenario where there simply won’t be enough classes to go around.
Students may not be able to get all the classes they need in a given semester, or they may not be able to get into any classes at all if they wait too long to register.
“Normally, when we are able to be funded by the state in order to offer additional sections, we are glad to add them where we have class rooms available,” Morrow said. “But this year we face a very different context, and we are unable to do that as we would like to.”
Unfortunately, money is only getting scarcer, and not just at Skyline. In all likelihood neither university-level schools nor Skyline will be looking at getting more money to accommodate more students any time soon.
In the meantime, enrollment just keeps on climbing.
“We are already seeing those redirected students [from UCs and CSUs], and I expect that trend to continue,” Morrow said. “It is happening at all three colleges.”
Despite everything being done to combat the situation – from adding new classes to expanding the student parking areas – it is very likely that the number of students turned away due to space and money constraints is going to increase.
“As long as the state funding for community colleges remains at the extremely low level it is,” Morrow said, “we will be looking at very crowded classes and not enough to go around.”
With the situation being what it is, and no reprise visible on the horizon, chances are good that students at Skykine – or any of its sister colleges – are going to have a tough time in the coming years.