City College strives to engage local students amid low enrollment

In+response+to+a+consistent+drop+in+out-of-state+enrollment%2C+the+City+College+outreach+team+is+focusing+on+reaching+local+high+school+students+who+may+be+considering+City+College+during+the+challenges+of+the+pandemic.+File+photo+of+a+walking+path+on+City+College%27s+main+campus+from+Jan.+2021.

Desiree Erdmann

In response to a consistent drop in out-of-state enrollment, the City College outreach team is focusing on reaching local high school students who may be considering City College during the challenges of the pandemic. File photo of a walking path on City College’s main campus from Jan. 2021.

Kiki Reyes, Staff Writer

The enrollment team at City College is using Instagram campaigns, partnering with the bookstore for prizes and contacting notable celebrities to reach potential future students.

“One of the things that’s been hard is getting students to show up, and for them to be successful in the enrollment process [so they will] register for classes,” said Elizabeth Stein, student success coordinator at City College.

In response to the 8% drop in enrollment from Spring to Fall 2020, and the overall downtrend over the years, the enrollment team is seeking outreach to local high schools in efforts to increase enrollment of locals. 

Santa Barbara locals are eligible for free college enrollment and other privileges such as covering mandatory fees, required books and course materials through the SBCC Promise program. 

With enrollment down in the out-of-state and international-student populations, the college is relying on local high-school students to make up those numbers. In 2019, City College had a decline in high-school outreach because of families moving out of the local Santa Barbara districts.

However, the pandemic caused many local students to consider attending City College for economic reasons. This could provide higher enrollment numbers, easing the budget deficit.

Earlier this month, high-school seniors were able to attend one of two “Vaquero Kickoff” sessions. These sessions provided enrollment support and information for first-year students.

“Anything we plan with our local high schools, we are always thinking about our students’ needs and their schedules,” Student Success Coordinator MaryLou Hernandez said.

The attendance for the kickoffs was promising, with 285 students attending the first session and 187 attending the second.

The enrollment and outreach team is a diverse group of many professionals.

They have all been actively adjusting to online engagement with potential students.

Each high school will have a total of four application workshops throughout the spring semester. Other workshops inform students about financial aid information, scholarships and academic counseling.

“The biggest challenge [for] all of us [is] being able to connect with someone,” Hernandez said. “The work we do is a personal touch.”