The pandemic took its toll on both residential and international enrollment numbers at City College, and leadership is assessing the damage to adjust for the hit taken on tuition revenue.
Spring residential tuition was 32% lower compared to recent years and international enrollment suffered a 50% drop, according to Superintendent-President Utpal Goswami and Vice President Pamela Ralston at the College Planning Council meeting this Tuesday.
“We’re on track for how bad we thought it was going to be,” Ralston said about the approximate 450 international students enrolled.
Local resident tuition was slightly lower than expected, and Goswami said the numbers shouldn’t affect the college’s funding quite yet, but it will if tuition revenue doesn’t rise by next fall.
The administration’s goal, for now, is to retain as many current students as possible and to campaign for any potential students looking to enroll.
“It is also likely that just before classes start we will have a rush of students who are delaying signing up right now,” Goswami said. “But we still have to make sure we reach out to as many students as we can.”
Conversations about equity were the focal point of the meeting, and the council spent over 30 minutes debating whether or not equity and diversity training should be mandatory for all staff members at the college.
“I am a reluctant soldier when it comes to making things mandatory,” Goswami said.
Though all representatives agreed that the training was important, some showed hesitation in making anything a requirement for all incoming staff.
“If you mandate someone to sit down and get training,” Representative Michael Shanahan said, “are they actually learning anything versus if you make it interesting and useful and you encourage people.”
Some councilmembers worried that those most in need of the equity training would brush it off, and enforcing it could send the message that the issue was a high priority at City College.
“Maybe this is one of those times where you do make something mandatory because we as a college have been telling you that this is a value that we have,” said Representative Ruth Morales. “Otherwise it’s just gonna be the cheerleaders learning a new cheer.”
Currently, not all incoming staff receive this type of training, and it could get everyone up to date and on the same page about the equity issues the college has faced in recent years. It’s a four-hour session that can be completed in segments and people will have plenty of time to finish the training.
The council ultimately agreed to first allow managers to encourage employees and implement the training, waiting to see how it fares and who refuses to comply.
Goswami also reiterated his two campus-wide emails, responding to 41 counties that were pulled back into the purple tier of pandemic restrictions.
He discouraged anyone from traveling or gathering for Thanksgiving with anyone who is not in their current household. If they have to, they must get tested 48 hours prior to stepping foot on campus.
“I know that this will cause some disruption,” Goswami wrote. “My appreciation to all of you for doing your part in adhering to our health and safety protocols.”