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VALLEY FOCUS | Valleywide

Registration Falls 14% at Mission College

January 13, 1998|DARRELL SATZMAN

Citing the late release of its spring schedule and sweeping class cuts as reasons for the decline, Mission College officials Monday reported a 14% drop in the number of students registered this semester compared with the same time last year.

On the first day of the spring semester, Pierce was 6% behind last year's numbers while Valley College was on track to stay even, officials reported.

Enrollment at Pierce declined from 12,733 students last spring to 11,913 this year. At Valley, 13,269 students have registered for the spring semester, compared with 13,407 last year, officials said.

Despite class cuts at several schools and belt-tightening throughout, overall spring enrollment at the nine-campus Los Angeles Community College District will remain virtually the same as last spring, officials said.

"There has been a budget tightening, and it's difficult to increase enrollment when you don't have the finances in place," said Shelley Gerstl, associate dean of admissions and records at Pierce. "But this tells me there is a large demand for classes.

"I think students realize that the community colleges are the most wonderful buy you can get in higher education," Gerstl said.

At Mission, where almost 30% of classes were eliminated prior to the fall semester, officials said they were optimistic that enough students would register by Jan. 30--the last day of the late enrollment period--to help close the gap.

Still, Carlos Nava, dean of students, expressed concern that only 4,504 students have registered for the spring semester, 739 fewer than last year.

"What really worries me is that in terms of applications for new students, we are about 25% behind," Nava said. "The class cuts have had an impact, but to me the main reason is that the class schedule came out almost three weeks later than last year."

Mission President William Norlund said the class schedule was delayed because the college was awaiting word on its budget from the district board.

Norlund said it was still too early to draw conclusions from the spring numbers.

"We are concerned but we can't get too excited before census week," which is Feb. 2, he said. "I'm optimistic that in a few weeks we are going to be where we were last year."

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