STOCKTON — San Joaquin Delta College will be offering a series of events to help its students register courses this semester after officials found enrollment had dropped.
Alex Breitler, spokesman for the college, said enrollment is down 10 to 12 percent heading into the fall semester, which begins Aug. 26.
Breitler said that percentage is not a head count decline, but rather a reduction in the number of units or classes for which students are enrolling.
He did not know how many units or classes were affected by the decline.
There are a couple of factors school officials believe are contributing to the decline, he said, including the economy.
“When the economy is good and strong like it has been recently, people are less likely to be coming back to school or retraining for another career,” he said.
Another factor for Delta’s enrollment issues, Breitler said, could be the school’s new registration system that was rolled out earlier this year.
Students have reported since June of issues including trouble logging into the system, or even signing up for classes once they are allowed access into the system, he said.
“Any time you roll out a new system you’re going to have a little bit of technical issues,” he said. “But we’re going to do everything we can to try and offset what has happened in the next three weeks before the semester starts.”
One of the ways the college is addressing the enrollment issue is to offer “Enrollment Express” Saturday registration events Aug. 10, 17 and 24 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the DeRicco Building in Room 117.
An additional weeknight session is scheduled for 5-7:30 p.m. on Aug. 22.
College staff will be on hand at each event to give students one-on-one assistance, and drawings will be held for book vouchers and gift cards. Food will also be provided.
The college is also unveiling a new, more convenient fall schedule that makes it easier for students to take back-to-back classes and finish college faster.
Delta is also offering more “dual enrollment” courses this year in which students across the region can take college courses while still in high school. These courses take place at local high schools and there is no cost for tuition, books or fees.
Those unable to attend the “Enrollment Express” events can go to the school’s E-Services Center Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
The college is also hoping students will be attracted to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent move to expand a tuition waiver for first-time, full-time students from one year to two years.
“That means students can come here, and for two years get their education for free,” he said. “Then they can get a transfer to a four-year university or go into new a career right out of Delta.”
Earlier this year, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reported that college enrollment nationwide had declined for the eighth straight year, and during that time, California experienced the largest drop.
According to its report, enrollment across the country for the Spring 2019 semester was down by 1.9 percent.
Community colleges saw a 3.4 percent reduction in enrollment for the semester, while four-year public institutions saw a 0.9 percent drop.
Conversely, four-year private schools experienced a 3.2 percent increase in enrollment, according to the report.
However, that was due to the conversion of large for-profit institutions to nonprofit status, the center said.