College of Marin enrollment down for spring semester

Miles Anderson

Enrollment at College of Marin is at its lowest in the past five years
Enrollment at College of Marin is at its lowest in the past five years

College of Marin’s enrollment decreased significantly for this spring semester. These decreases were due largely to tuition hikes and less flexibility for financial aid, the college says.

The numbers, release last month by College of Marin’s Research, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness Office, show that enrollment dipped nine percent this spring semester compared to last year’s numbers.

In spring 2012, there were officially 7,337 students enrolled in comparison to 6,620 in spring 2013.

College of Marin released a statement which said that enrollment fees have increased by 130 percent in the last five years, devastating some financial aid applicants.

In the statement, according to financial aid director David Cook, financial aid applicants represented about 20 percent of the student population at College of Marin. However, he said that this spring those applicants account for close to 80 percent of the student population.

At Redwood and other high schools across California, community colleges such as College of Marin have become an attractive option for students who don’t have financial capability or sufficient academics to attend a bigger UC campus, according to Paula Vantrease, College and Career Center specialist.

Vantrease does not believe that the recent drop in enrollment will result in fewer students applying to College of Marin. Despite the budget problems that College of Marin faces, Vantrease said that community colleges save students save students in need of financial support a significant amount of money.

“It’s still an attractive option for people. It’s not like you’re taking classes and you’re not going to be prepared for the future.”

However, the recent rise in class cost at College of Marin, from $20 to $46 per unit of credit, means that attending the Community College costs significantly more, at roughly $1,250 for one semester of tuition according to Vantrease.

Vantrease said that the enrollment decreases surprise her, especially given the rise in enrollment at community colleges throughout California over the years. Enrollment, which jumped to 8,025 in spring 2010, has slowly dipped since then, falling by nearly 1,500 over the past two years.

Although she doesn’t possess specific numbers from this year’s community college admissions throughout California, Vantrease said that she hasn’t noticed a significant change in the number of interested students this year.

Last year, 39 of 60 community college applicants, over half, chose to attend College of Marin, which has two campuses in Kentfield and Ignacio Valley.

Vantrease said that she did notice a lesser level of interest at College of Marin’s Student Outreach event, which was held at the College of Career Center on March 12 at lunchtime.