On Tuesday, December 14th, the Officers of the Academic Senate had a regular meeting with Interim President Yao. Topics of conversations included a report on the dire enrollment numbers for Spring, a mention of a HERD-funded effort to support students, an effort to get seniors the classes they need to graduate, low-income housing effort, a joint-plan with community college leaders to help everyone’s enrollment, and some conversation about the campus budget process. This note will summarize some of this.
Enrollment numbers are dire. We are down 20%. Other campuses are down about 10%, but the Souther California CSU campuses are doing better, on average. Fall headcount was 6437 (down from 6973 in 2020) and FTES was 5581 (down from 6195 in 2020). These are 7.2% and 9.9% decreases, respectively. This amounts to a $4.5m loss/drop in tuition revenue (will be covered by reserves) and a 12.6% reduction in funded target of 6135 FTES.
For Spring 2022, we expect 520 students to graduate (of 6437), and expect a Spring enrollment of 5388 individuals (4503 FTES). This would be a 92% retention/graduation rate, but is our lowest enrollment since the 2013-2014 academic year. (Compare to this enrollment dashboard.)
The Fall 2019 cohort of students is the first we will be measured by for a Graduation Initiative 2025 six-year retention rate. Presently, we have a 62.8% retention rate over 2.5 years. For the Fall 2020 cohort, we are at a 67% retention rate over 1.5 years. Targeted outreach for these cohort will be happening. The Fall 2021 cohort is showing a 92.7% retention rate at this point.
For Spring, we have admitting 818 transfer students. Historically, we get a yield in the low 40- to the mid 50-percent. Currently, 42% are enrolled (346 students).
Miller pointed out that the evaluation of transfer credit is hisorically one barrier to a transfer student being able to immediately make progress toward earning a baccalaureate degree. This is an aspect of ‘transfer shock’ nationally, and CI shared this problem. Improving the speed at which transfer student credit is evaluated and awarded may increase our yields and increase retention of transfer students. Yao acknowledged and said he would bring this up with the Provost.
HERF and Student Debt
Yao gave the officers a heads-up about plans to use HERF funds to cancel some student debt. Because HERF funds cannot be used to recruit or advertise, there were limits to how the institution talked with students about this effort. On Friday, December 17th, an email went out to students about this effort. Please refer to that email for details.
An investment of $700,000 is being made in an effort to identify the classes seniors need for graduation and run them. Advising is manually egvaluating what classes are needed. They will get that information to Academic Affair soon.
In addition, an investment of $500,000 is being made to help Enrollment Management boost efforts to recruit students for the Fall 2022 incoming cohort. This is one-time funds. Yao thinks that the yeild for this effort will be a bellwether for future enrollment trends at CI.
Governor Newsome set aside a pot of money for low-income housing for students. They are one-time funds means to create affordable housing options for students. The limitations on the way these funds may be used (e.g., building new residence facilities, buying and renovating existing buildings) are prohibitive for us. But Yao has proposed an alternative way to use funds that is in the spirit of the set-aside; the Chancellor’s Office liked it but the State Budge Office did not. The idea appears to be a non-starter. However, the idea may have inspired some local (private) support. Stay tuned for details.
Community College Partnership
Yao has been in conversation with local community colleges, which face severe enrollment drops, about a possible ‘dual admissions’ program that would create an incentive for Ventura County students to start their college education here and earn their baccalaureate degree at CI. Stay tuned for details.
Yao continues to try to find ways to support the Mission Centers on campus. He had conversations with the Mission Center Directors and Dr. Jennifer Perry, AVP for HIPEE, about ways to use $100,000 in discretionary one-time funds. Stay tuned for details.
Campus Budget Process
There was discussion about the campus budget process, how it is improving, but how it continues to be somewhat opaque to internal stakeholders. Yao has always insisted that his VPs have the agency to work with their units to prioritize new budget requests that get put forward at the campus level. The officers have consistently pointed out that there are mission critical efforts on campus (e.g., tutoring, the writing center, computer refresh, student research, learning communities and team teaching) that have continually been partially funded by one-time funds (e.g., IRA, MSFT, salary-savings). Every year, requests are made for support for these efforts, and every year other efforts are prioritized. This year the pattern appears to continue. Yao continued to be sympathetic, and shares that he plans to ask VPs to share with him both the ideas that their divisions prioritized for funding and those that were put forward but the division did not prioritize.
The officers felt this would be helpful; it would add a way to hold VPs accountable for the agency they were given in prioritizing proposals.