Effective enrollment management requires a delicate balance between the breadth of course offerings required to meet student needs and the cost of offering those courses. When managed well, enrollments in the majority of courses are strong enough to support a limited number of necessarily-small offerings. Contractually, the process requires attendance to multiple articles in the YFA/YCCD Contract, including Class Size Balancing (4.8), Class Capacity (4.10), Large Class Accommodations (4.11), and at times Annualized Load (4.6), Underload (4.7), and Banking (Article 10).
- The bulk of community college funding comes from student
- Funding generated by enrollment in each class must cover the direct costs of that class plus the indirect costs of utilities, support staff, administration, supplies, insurance, transportation, facilities upkeep, and equipment that enable the class to occur for students.
- When enrollment in a class is low, its costs must be balanced by enrollment in other classes in order to cover the costs of the institution.
The purpose of this document is to establish guidelines as to the threshold of viability for an individual course. The numbers below are not across-the-board targets. Rather, they must represent occasional exceptions. If all classes were offered with only 20 students, the college would go bankrupt.
Deans shall schedule course offerings to minimize the number of low-enrolled classes and shall adjust offerings during registration as necessary to improve efficiencies. For example, two identical lecture sections with a standard capacity of 40, each with 20 students enrolled, may be combined into one section with 40 students even though each one would meet the “Standard” criterion for a single-section offering. Meanwhile, Deans are also responsible to maintain an appropriate spectrum of course offerings to ensure that students are able to complete their programs of study in a timely manner.
Timeline (Aligned with expectations of YFA/YCCD Contract Article 7.2(b))
First Decision – A decision to keep, conditionally keep, or cancel each section shall be made at least one week prior to the start of the section based on the enrollment guidelines below. Deans shall inform the faculty member of the reason for cancellation. Special consideration may be given to course sections with a documented slow fill history. Per Article 7.2(b) of the YFA/YCCD contract, a part-time faculty member shall be paid for one class meeting up to a maximum of three hours at their instructional hourly rate for any course kept beyond this date.
Second Decision – Courses conditionally kept will meet for the first class session. If enrollment has risen to satisfy the conditions below, then the class will continue. If not, the class will be cancelled or combined with another section. The Dean shall have discretion to conditionally extend the enrollment period to the end of the first week if additional enrollment can be reasonably expected. A part-time faculty member in such a class will be paid for the additional class sessions met during the first week. A final decision for each section shall be reached by the first class session of the second week at the latest. Deans shall inform each faculty member of the reason for any further class cancellations.
About bumping – When the above decisions result in bumping a part-time faculty member from a class, the date of the bumping shall determine the payment per Article 7.2(b).
Enrollment Restoration Plan – Sections falling short of the established minimum more than occasionally may indicate the need for revisions to courses, programs, and/or marketing. In such a case, the Dean and department faculty shall meet, develop, and submit to the VPI a plan to restore enrollment prior to the course section under scrutiny being offered again.
Minimum Size and Criteria – Each individual section shall meet one of these criteria. Stacked and cross-listed sections (same times, but with shared load) shall utilize their combined enrollment to meet these standards.
- Standard (Single section offered) = 20
A single section of a course is offered in the current term.
- Multiple sections offered = 75% of Capacity
When multiple sections of a course are offered, the goal is for each section to serve at least 75% of the agreed-upon course capacity. The Dean may combine sections as needed in support of this goal. To minimize disruption, during registration the Dean may hold some sections in pending status, hidden from student view, and open additional sections as demand warrants.
- Special Consideration will be given to courses or sections on a case-by-case basis and may result in enrollments below the minimum noted above, with approval of the Vice President of Instruction. Such consideration shall be categorized as either a condition or an exception. Deans shall provide a description of any condition and an enrollment restoration plan for an exception.
- Conditions (Description to VPI)
- First offering of a new course
- Sequential courses required for students to complete their majors*
- Specified outreach courses to serve a unique group of students,e.g. “COLSK 100 for Umoja students.”
- Courses limited by equipment, space, or safety considerations
- Courses whose class size maximums are mandated by program standards
- Courses approved for a class size of 20 or less (Target = 75% of capacity)
- Common Exceptions (Enrollment Restoration Plan is expected after second occurrence)
- Courses offered at specific times to serve specific populations of (e.g., The only section of the course offered for evening students.)
- The section is required to maintain a full-time instructor’s load obligation and no other options are available.
- The section is required to support student progression toward completion of their
major. * Examples include:
- Last course in the sequence or the final component of the major
- Only section of the course offered in the academic year
- A unique program important to local industries
- Conditions (Description to VPI)
*Capstone or advanced courses with prerequisites experiencing low enrollments may or may not indicate a concern, to be determined by the Dean and VPI in consultation with department faculty. Single-digit enrollments in such offerings, however, provide strong evidence that the college may not be able to continue the program of study as currently designed and an Enrollment Restoration Plan will definitely be required. Somewhere between the 20-student standard and single digits lies the inflection point indicating the need for an Enrollment Restoration Plan.
This document was last updated by the YFA and Modesto Junior College administration in Summer 2023. It should be reviewed again in Spring 2025, in accordance with Article 4.10.1 of the YCCD/YFA Collective Bargaining Agreement.