Enrollment down for third straight year

Enrollment down for third straight year

For the third straight year, Pierce College has been faced with a growing decline in enrollment.

The Pierce College Council met on Feb. 24 via Zoom to discuss concerns and possible solutions to the alarming decrease in student registration. 

Interim President Ara Aguiar said Pierce is currently experiencing a drop in students coming to the school. 

The influx of students is down at least 30% from 2019 and 84% compared to 2021.

Pierce also has the second-lowest enrollment class size out of the nine colleges in the district as of this spring, at 19.2 students per sections. Los Angeles Trade Tech College (Trade) currently has the lowest, at 17.6.

“We’re not going to get out of this problem,” Aguiar said. “But we are going to offer more classes with lower sizes. We’re talking about 11% more classes with at least 30% fewer students.”

Aguiar said Pierce is down 4,500 students, and is also considering offering more classes that run for eight weeks to help combat the issue.

On March 16, Pierce plans to discuss efforts and strategies to help with enrollment at the Board of Trustees meeting. 

Enrollment numbers are not the only thorn in Pierce’s side as infrastructure has also begun to prove problematic for the college.

Action 18 was passed and approved in a unanimous 10-0 decision and plans to have 25% of Pierce spaces having electric vehicle chargers by 2030.

Pierce psychology and statistics professor Angela Belden expressed her concerns about the EV chargers while also praising the idea.

“My concerns are two-fold,” Belden said. “Number one, I love the idea of charging stations on campus. I’m a little concerned about them all being in one place. I also am concerned about the Center for Sciences building being refreshed when there are facilities on campus that are in massive disrepair.”

Joe Kelly Field is one of the sports venues in the college that is in desperate need of remodeling and repair work.

Belden said that there are buildings on campus that are newer that are eligible for refreshment, while older buildings are being neglected. 

“Our athletic facility and many of our academic buildings are really behind the curve,” Belden said.

Pierce Vice President of Administrative Services Rolf Schleicher stated that El Rancho Drive will be closed off for the next three days starting tomorrow for “project work.” 

Co-Chair of the Technology Committee and Representative of the Budget Committee Ron Paquette announced that he plans to move 67 classrooms to high flex rooms, though wifi remains to be an issue. 

According to Paquette, it costs at least $15k to convert each room to accommodate high flex classes. He also said that some of the high flex rooms may not have the wiring needed for the transfer.

In other news, Aguiar said that meetings about student housing are currently underway for all nine Los Angeles Community Colleges in the district, and how such it can be sustained and paid for.

Aguiar also said that Pierce has received COVID-19 antigen tests for students and faculty, and are currently figuring out how to properly distribute them.

Pierce ASO president Qais Azizi spoke highly of Club Rush, which was held virtually over Zoom last Wednesday to Thursday.

“I’m quite happy with the result,” Azizi said. “Students were engaging with each other and joining clubs. I would say it was a success.”

In a unanimous 12-0 decision, the council passed the Strategic Master Plan (SMP) (also known as Action 16) which was processed in 2020 and based on four different themes—student success, fiscal, racial equity and internal and external relations. 

The SMP will be evaluated by the PCC regularly before it heads to the president and eventually the district and the full LACCD board. 

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