Santa Barbara City College enrollment still below pre-pandemic numbers | School zone
Whereas Santa Barbara City College enrollment is even lower than usual, with more students returning to campus for in-person classes this year.
The college has about 12,000 credit students and 2,500 non-credit students this fall, according to Martha Swanson, SBCC’s executive director of public affairs and communications.
“While the pandemic may have compelled us to create more online offerings, we’re also seeing that CCSC students appreciate the flexibility they provide,” Swanson said. “That being said, we also know that many students prefer in-person meetings and do better when they are in person.”
Swanson said about 4,000 more students were taking in-person classes this fall compared to last year.
“It feels like the campus has really come alive,” Swanson said. “There’s a palpable excitement about really being back on campus this fall.”
While there are fewer students taking classes for college credit, Swanson said, the drop isn’t as significant as in recent years.
A number of students served in fall 2021 shows that there were 13,781 credited students. Swanson said as of Friday the decline from last year to this fall is 2.8%.
There was a 9.2% decrease in student enrollment between fall 2019 and 2020, she said, and a 5.1% decrease between fall 2020 and 2021.
As for students enrolled before the pandemic, Swanson said the college is working to help them return to Santa Barbara City College.
“We are proactively reaching out to students who were enrolled before the pandemic and trying to make it as easy as possible for them to return,” Swanson said. “For example, we’ve held re-enrollment days and offered up to $500 in book grants to help cover the cost of textbooks and supplies.”
Santa Barbara City College still requires students and staff to wear masks, while the county is in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Community Medium or High Levels.
Santa Barbara County is in the lower tier, but the college has a two-week transition period, which means masks will become optional on Sept. 16 as long as the county remains in the lower tier.
The college will still strongly recommend masks indoors, even when county is low.
SBCC is also working this year on develop a new 5-year strategic plan.
“The development of a new strategic plan comes at a crucial time for the college, as schools across the country have seen significant changes in how students access higher education and the conditions created by the pandemic. revealed a variety of student needs inside and outside the classroom,” the college explains on its strategic planning webpage.