Mike Koozmin/the S.F. ExaminerTyler Mendoza

CCSF enrollment takes big hit as accreditation battle continues

The bustling City College of San Francisco campuses may be quieter places come the new year if current enrollment numbers are any portent.

While most community colleges have reported increased enrollment, more than two weeks after registration opened for the spring semester at CCSF, full-time enrollment is more than 26 percent lower compared to this time last year.

Whether or not the numbers will increase as the semester’s Jan. 10 start date nears remains to be seen.

But threats of CCSF’s closure, a new pay-to-stay enrollment system and a schedule delivery snafu may all be playing a part in influencing when and if students enroll in the embattled college.

Total enrollment at the college was down by more than 4,000 students, according to figures from the college. As of Dec. 3, there were 5,616 full-time equivalent students enrolled for the spring semester, about 2,000 fewer than last year. That’s a more than 26 percent decrease in full-time students enrolling so far.

“I believe the lack of a printed schedule is probably the major factor in the declining enrollment,” CCSF spokesman Peter Anning said.

Additionally, the pay-to-stay enrollment rules recently put into place may have a temporary impact on enrollment, Anning said. Those are the college’s new rules specifying that students must pay before they can enroll.

But prospective student James Collins said he was thinking of enrolling at Skyline College in San Mateo County because of rumors of City College’s demise due to its loss of accreditation, which is under appeal.

“That’s why I went to Skyline first,” said the San Francisco resident.

The new enrollment numbers come just weeks after City College Chancellor Art Tyler presented a rosy opinion of spring enrollment.

“… I am very happy to note that our enrollment for Spring is looking up by more than 3% over last year at the same time. This is a sign that the most important groups, our students and community have faith in our ability to sustain ourselves and keep moving forward — and we will!” he wrote in his State of the School address, dated Nov. 25.

The enrollment decrease will not impact current funding because theschool has an exemption, according to Anning.

“We are on State ‘Stability’ funding — in that we have a year to make up an enrollment drop, while remaining at the same funding level as in the past year. Then, after June 30 2014, if enrollment doesn’t stabilize, we would be funded at whatever level we have enrolled Full-time Equivalent Students,” he wrote.

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges voted in June to terminate City College’s accreditation next July because it said the college was out of compliance with commission accreditation standards and eligibility requirements.

While the school remains open and accredited, if it does not successfully reform itself by July, it could be closed.

CCSF ENROLLMENT

Spring enrollment full-time students enrolled Dec. 5, 2012: 7,619

Spring semester full-time students enrolled Dec. 3, 2013: 5,616

Spring 2014 full-time enrollment target: 9,150

Total spring enrollment Dec. 3, 2012: 19,289

Total spring enrollment Dec. 3, 2013: 15,288

Percentage difference: -20.74

Headcount difference: 4,001

Spring semester starts: Jan. 10

Source: CCSF

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