With the new school year in full swing, Saddleback College is experiencing a surge in enrollment, with more than 850 additional students this year over last.
On Sept. 3, after two weeks of school, Saddleback reported to the state that 21,899 students were registered, a 4% increase from a year ago, college officials said.
"This is our first major gain in four years," said Susan Lemkin, Saddleback public information officer.
Lemkin said a major reason for the jump in enrollment was the state Legislature's decision to repeal an unpopular $50-a-unit fee for students who already hold bachelor's degrees. This year, those students were charged the same $13 per unit as other students.
This fall, Saddleback offered 1,729 classes, 1% more than last year. The most popular courses included liberal arts and vocational classes. Weekend courses along with Spanish, Chinese and Japanese language classes also were popular, Lemkin said.
"We're packed to the rafters," she said.
To meet the growing student population and demand for courses, Saddleback plans to expand its Saturday school schedule in the spring and is exploring the possibility of offering Sunday afternoon classes, Lemkin said.