(Ekevara Kitpowsong/ Special to S.F. Examiner)

State bill allows CCSF to earn back enrollment funding

For the next five years, City College of San Francisco will have the chance to receive millions in state funding from booms in student enrollment that it would otherwise not be able to earn.

Community colleges statewide are guaranteed funding for enrollment growth typically between one and two percent a year, but Gov. Jerry Brown approved a budget trailer bill late last month that included removing the growth cap for CCSF.

AB 1602 allows City College to earn back funding for enrollment it lost — up to the 33,000 full-time equivalent students (FTES) it had in fiscal year 2012-13 — under a restorative growth period beginning in 2017-18. The college has about 22,000 FTES at present.

The decision comes as college administrators prepare to fall from a fiscal cliff.

The 2016-17 school year is the final of three fiscal years in which CCSF receives stability funding from the state. City College received about $26.5 million last school year to offset the loss in funding from low student enrollment.

In recent years, CCSF has not had a cap on funding for enrollment growth but has not been able to restore its student population in the wake of an accreditation crisis, which resulted in the departure of about a third of its students.

CCSF Board of Trustees President Rafael Mandelman said the college “would not be able to recover” from the fall with a growth cap on funding. Without it, the school now must focus on increasing the enrollment it lost over the last half decade.

“The best and most important thing we can do for our enrollment is reaffirm our accreditation in January,” Mandelman said, referring to the deadline for the college to meet a series of standards to retain its accreditation.

City College has an enrollment management plan aimed at growing the student population by 10 percent annually over five years through various means including expanded departments and added outreach programs, according to a recent version of the plan.

One such outreach effort offers dual enrollment for students in the San Francisco Unified School District.

A November ballot measure asking San Francisco voters to approve a parcel tax to fund free tuition at City College could also boost enrollment at the institution.

Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, led an earlier effort to remove the growth cap for three years that folded into the budget trailer bill.

“In order to allow thousands of San Franciscans to pursue their educational and career goals at our cherished institution, it is critical that the state give City College ample time to grow as quickly as it can,” Leno said in a statement.

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