GCC Fall Enrollment Sees a Boost in Numbers

Tania Chatila
El Vaquero Staff Writer

Glendale Community College witnessed an 11.9 percent increase in student enrollment this semester, believed mainly to be the result of the new academic calendar, said Sharon Combs, Dean of Admissions and Records.

The start of the new semester saw an enrollment of 15,435 students, according to Combs. This is a sharp increase from last year’s enrollment of only 13,792 students.

“An increase in population could mean so many different things,” said Combs. With there being a number of different variables that could account for the influx of students, according to Combs, administrators believe the main reason is the new academic calendar.

In accordance with the new schedule, GCC headed a late start into the academic year.

The fall semester, beginning after the Labor Day weekend, started much later in comparison to other surrounding community colleges, like Pasadena City College, which began its fall semester in late August.

According to Combs, the late start is probably one of the main reasons for the increase in student enrollment because most students like the idea of a longer summer.

The newly added winter session to the GCC academic calendar is also expected to contribute to increased enrollment.

This new session will be six weeks between the fall and spring semesters. According to Combs, this addition to the academic calendar is appealing to most students.

The winter session, which will offer about the same curriculum as the summer sessions, is not a required session to be considered a continuing student for registration in the spring.

Much like the summer session, the new winter intersession is offered only for students who chose to take classes during this period.

According to Combs, one last variable believed to be among the reasons for the influx in students is the shorter terms for the fall and spring semesters.

“Students like the idea of a shorter term,” said Combs.

The new academic schedule is 16 weeks, including finals, for both the fall and spring semesters. Semesters were formerly 18 weeks.

Administrators do not foresee many obstacles in accommodating the increased enrollment.

With nearly as many afternoon as morning classes, students are given the opportunity for a broader schedule over the course of the day, according to Combs.

“I don’t see the increase becoming a problem,” said Combs. “I think students will come here and finish their goals in a timely manner, if that’s what they are inclined to do.”

As for parking, 28 student slots were taken for faculty parking, due to the loss of the gas station lot located across the street from campus on Verdugo Blvd., but administrators say they can accommodate the influx through other sources.

“I think we’ve been able to accommodate the increase with different steps we’ve taken to make sure the problem doesn’t get any worse,” said Lawrence Serot, vice president of administrative services.

He said that with more course offerings throughout the day and the shuttle service, parking will not become a bigger problem for students.

“We’ve really been advertising the shuttle from day one this year,” said Serot. “There is more of an interest now.”

The shuttle had an approximate attendance of 25 on its first day of service according to Nidal Kobaissi of the campus police department.

Glendale Community College also saw an increase in student enrollment in the summer sessions this year.

According to Dean Sharon Combs, 8,568 students were enrolled in summer classes this year as opposed to 7,570 students in 2000. Among the reasons for the increase, she said were that many high school graduates look towards the summer session as being a key tool in getting a head start on their academic career at GCC.

The summer also proves valuable to university students who chose to take many of their general education courses at the community college level.

Also, students enrolled in high school and also taking courses at the community college level, utilize the summer to their advantage, according to Combs.