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Student enrollment numbers steadily drop

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The number of students attending Palomar College this spring has continued to drop, with school officials saying the state of the economy and the changing role of students is to blame.

Enrollment from Fall 2010 to Fall 2014 declined from 25,022 to 23,882. This spring, is 22,687.

Enrollment this semester has started to balanced itself out to what it is now, according to Kendyl Magnuson, director of enrollment services.

“The big change came after the 2010-2011 school year, we were still deeply in the recession and we like many colleges in the system we had far more students than we had the funding for, so you had this interesting inversion of people wanting to go school but the State is giving very little funding,” Magnuson said.

The state funding that Magnuson is referring to is partly dependent on Palomar’s FTES (Full Time Equivalent Students). The FTES numbers are determined by the number of credits that are being taken, so that 15 credits are being taken by one

“The reality is that the state tends to give increase funding through increased student attendance,” he said.

He estimated that our FTES is going to remain similar to what it has been in past semesters.

“This term we’re going to run at about 8,300 or 8,400 full-time, equivalent students and that’s running pretty close to previous terms,” he said. “Maybe slightly less than last year but pretty close.”

He then addressed the concern for the students who were enrolled in classes that were cancelled.

“There is often times, and rightfully so, a focus on the eight or 10 students that might be in that class,” he said. “But we can’t lose sight of the fact that there is also a big number of students that may not get another class because we’re not offering it, because were keeping this other small class.”

Another change at Palomar is the trend in students opting to be part-time students.

“We’re tending to get a few more students going part-time rather full-time,” he said. “Short of an actual study, we believe that this is because employment is going up.”

From talking to students at Palomar’s San Marcos campus going to college full time, part time, or really to attend at all seems to be dependent on the balance of working enough to afford to go and having enough time away from work for classes.

Canaan Devito, an economics major, and Daniel Kasim, a criminal justice major, are examples of this balance.

Devito said that due to work, not being sure about his major at the time he enrolled, and the lack of easy access to counselors, he decided that it would be best to be a part time student.

“I have like two other jobs and some of my classes that I needed were full and I wasn’t a 100 percent sure on my major, so I didn’t want to take a bunch of classes that don’t count for anything.”

He then went on to state, “It’s also really hard to get an appointment with a counselor.”

On the other side of this coin is Daniel Kasim. He is a full-time student due to his flexible schedule.

“Time availability at work and just being able to come when ever,” he said.

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Student enrollment numbers steadily drop