Delta enrollment plummets

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With the spring semester of 2016 underway, there is a considerably low number of students enrolled this semester, causing a number of classes to suffer the consequences.

“We started declining in the last three years,” said Vice President for Instruction Matt Wetstein, “Not by huge numbers. It’s just been a gradual decline.”

According to Wetstein, there were around 22,000 students enrolled at Delta College in

2013. Now in 2016, there are around 19,000 enrolled.

The classes most affected by this decline are electives.

Students in the Reading of Shakespeare class received an email on Jan. 25 stating the class was cancelled due to a low number of students enrolling.

“The class only had seven students enrolled,” said Jon Christensen, who was enrolled in the course. “And we needed a minimum of fifteen students in order for the class to continue.

“It was irritating for the class to have been cancelled,” Christensen continued, “I needed the units to transfer, and I plan on transferring after this semester.”

Fortunately, students such as Christensen whose class was canceled were able to join a different elective class, preventing them from losing any units for this semester.

Although electives are the most affected, General-Ed classes including English 79, which is one of the top three most enrolled classes at Delta, has seen some cancellations.

According to Wetstein, there were 65 sections of English 79 classes and

due to not enough students enrolling in them, 21 of those classes were can- celed, leaving 44.

“One of the reasons for this de- cline is that not as many students are graduating high school,” Wetstein continued. “Also, more universities are ac- cepting students without having to go to a community college. So if students have the choice between a university and community college, they’ll likely choose a university.”

Delta isn’t the only college having issues with enrollment.

According to Interim Vice President for Student Services Lisa Cooper this a problem for cities that extends as far as Los Angeles and Oakland.

If this problem isn’t fixed, it could create some bigger problems.

“This could definitely have a budget impact on us,” said Wetstein. “We will lose our ability to get growth revenue. For example, if we have four percent more students, then we get four percent more revenue. But if this continues, there could be potential layoffs, especially for the part time faculty.”

Wetstein continued to say this isn’t the situation yet, but part time faculty are being paid less for lack of sections.

To keep this from becoming a bigger problem, Delta College is changing things up to try and get more students.

“We have hired a marketing outreach director,” said Cooper. “We are also doing something called “Dual Enrollment,” and what we do is have faculty go to high schools in Stockton or Lodi and teach a college course to students who are interested.”

The Delta College website home page has some changes, too.

There’s a new button to click on that will help students enroll, step by step. Other questions can be answered with a click of the “Ask the Mustang” button.

“We just want our students to feel welcomed,” Cooper said. “We’ve changed our hours so we could be more available. There are clubs for them to join and free tutoring for when they need it. We’re all about making our students successful