Steady decline in enrollment yet increase in full-time students

Students walking around the Washington Street Campus this semester might not notice, but enrollment is down from this time last fall. Robert Austin, vice president of student affairs, said there are 9,927 students currently enrolled at AC. Last fall there were 10,287 students enrolled, a difference of 360 students. There are about 5,000 students on the Washington Street Campus. “We’ve had a consistent decline in enrollment over the last several years going back to the fall of 2010,” Austin said. That fall AC had the highest enrollment number of 11,600. “We’ve been recording enrollment declines over the last two to three years of 5 percent per year, so to come in at 3.5 percent this year is kind of a win in a way,” Austin said. Even with lower enrollment, Austin said there is a shortage of gateway courses such as Freshman Composition or College Algebra. “We have seen an increase in the number of students enrolled full-time,” Austin said. “I felt at times that we needed more classes available,” said Language, Communication and Fine Arts Adviser Ruth De Anda. Dr. Brian Farmer, a social sciences professor, said he had three classes increased to the maximum capacity of 80. He now has to teach in 131 Russell Hall, a classroom that can accommodate 80 students. Farmer said he expects 80 percent of those students to complete the course. Austin Gibson, an engineering major, said he has noticed less space in his classes. “Actually, my classes seem to be a bit more crowded,” Gibson said. “I saw a great outpouring of students, especially mass media,” De Anda said. “I felt like I was filling up classes left and right.” Austin said late registration is a problem. “If we could get more students to register early, we’d have a better sense of how many new sections we would need to offer,” he said. He said he would like enrollment to break even next fall. “One of the things that we’ll be working on to guarantee that enrollment will be up next year will be to have enough sections of the right courses,” Austin said.

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