By Joycellen Martinez
Fall semester has started strong at all three Riverside Community College District campuses and like expected, many of the college attendants have already began to notice a difference.
All three colleges are expected to have a jam-packed year with the current increase of student enrollment of more than 4 percent in all of the colleges.
Leading the list is Moreno Valley with an increase of 6.9 percent, taking its total amount of student enrollment to 9,470. Riverside City College took in 20,792 students, with a 4.2 percent increase from last year., while Norco College increased by 4 percent, taking their total to 10,606 students enrolled.
RCC students began to notice the increased amount of students through various factors, such as student parking.
“The college already has a limited amount of parking space and with more students the parking spaces get taken up twice as fast,” RCC student Sarah Johnson said. “The first day was especially hectic; it took me nearly two hours to find a spot to park. Besides the parking matter it will also enlarge the competition to enroll into courses.”
Some students complained that the parking situation led to many spending as long as three hours trying to find a parking spot on the first day of classes, resulting in many students being dropped from their classes due to absence.
On the other hand, RCC student Jaqueline Andrade said she believed that the increase in student enrollment will actually bring a positive perspective to the college.
“It will help bring diversity into the college. It also shows how the stigma that surrounds community college is diminishing. People are starting to accept that attending a two-year college is not as bad as it’s made to seem when compared to a four-year college.”
Since the notice of increased enrollment, RCC directors have added additional courses during the registration periods. Classes such as English 1A and 1B which were in high demand.
Over the past year the student body in community colleges have increased due to the many advantages the it offers students.
RCCD campuses have adopted The Promise Program, which gives all students enrolled in the program the advantage of having their tuition fees paid for and entitlement to priority registration. Those enrolled as full-time students also receive book credit.
With the promise of graduating on in a two-year period, students in the program can make better timed plans for the future. The program also offers students the opportunity to save money for the cost of a university education.
According to the California’s Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, 80 percent of all University of California and California State University graduates started their education at a community college, with 48 percent of those graduates earning a bachelor’s degree as STEM majors.
Nearly 75 percent of community college students are at least twenty-years-old. This age demographic plays on the fact that most college students have to deal with stress of juggling college life with work.
With the idea of being more convenient to student life, community colleges are leading the way into the increased incorporation of online and distance courses. Making it easier for students struggling with factors outside of education, to accomplish their educational goals.