Enrollment numbers increasing at BC for this year

Elizabeth Castillo, Reporter

This semester, Bakersfield College has seen a steady increase of enrolled students on campus. Sue Vaughn, the director for Enrollment Services, believes there are several reasons for the increase.

“Well, I think there are four causes: we’re offering more sections, the budget isn’t as tight as it has been for the past few years, BC’s Making it Happen program, and the Habits of Mind program,” Vaughn said.

Although the exact number varies on a day-to-day basis, Vaughn believes that every day there are roughly 100 more students on campus than there were last semester. This semester, the total number of enrolled students at BC is 17,800 students. Vaughn said that adding more sections definitely helped students stay enrolled.

“All classrooms are full Monday through Thursday morning,” she said. “We’ve added 20 more sections this semester.”

Vaughn said that extra sections were added specifically in most general education areas such as English, Math, Art, History and Communication. She said that this semester also saw hefty waitlists so certain departments thought it was especially important to add extra sections.

“Faculty chairs called students on waitlists and informed them of added sections that were at different times,” she said. “The faculty chairs then informed students that they would move them directly into those new sections.”

With all of the added sections, Vaughn said that out of 6,974 students waitlisted, 5,391 were moved into classes. After students entered their new sections, Vaughn said that professors have seen more committed students this semester.

“Informally, professors have told me that more people showed up on the first day than ever before,” she said. “Once you get in, then you need to be there.”

Vaughn said another reason students might have more focus this semester may come from financial aid changes. Students could possibly lose financial aid sooner, and this change influences them.

While many factors are causing BC students to stay in class, one factor is helping high school students get a head start.

“BC counselors have gone to certain high schools in town to facilitate assessment tests and set-up registration appointments for high school seniors,” Vaughn said.

Helping high school seniors with the BC enrollment process has ensured that students complete the necessary steps to enroll properly at BC. Counselors visited a number of high schools in the Kern High School District including Arvin, East, Bakersfield and Foothill.

The Making it Happen program has helped students stay enrolled in a number of ways, including mentorship by faculty.

“The program is set in place to help students,” Vaughn said. “Some faculty have 10-15 mentees, and this allows students to have the encouragement they need.”

A final leading factor that helped BC enroll more students this semester was the state budget. With an increase in funds, BC was able to add more classes this semester and in the future as well.

“In past years there have been cuts in funding,” Vaughn said. “At that time a number of classes were cut, but with a growth in budget, we’ve been restoring sections and will be able to add more sections next year.”

Although this semester has only been in session for a few weeks, Vaughn stresses the importance of students preparing for next semester.

“People need to get matriculation steps done and update their admission forms to register early for next semester,” she said. “Early registration begins November 12 and open registration doesn’t start until December.”

Vaughn said that by completing important updates, students can register sooner, because once open registration begins, 4,000 to 5,000 students have already registered.