FTES goal surpasses prediction

Enrollment on the rise again

Despite weakening numbers in recent years and a rebounding economy, enrollment at Los Medanos College is on the up.
For the first time since it was instituted by the state for the 2013-14 academic year, LMC will have achieved, and even surpassed, its full-time equivalent student goal.
As of Sept. 16, 3,636 FTES were enrolled.
LMC has upped the ante, reaching for higher number of FTES than required by the state. LMC’s goal, 8,080, differs from the state set requirement of 7,851 by a total of 229.
“Broken down by semester our target FTES goals are summer 848, fall 3,616 and spring 3,616,” said LMC Vice President Kevin Horan.
The FTES number, figured using a formula provided by the state chancellor’s office based on the total number of students enrolled, matters as it affects funding from the state. Any FTES realized after the base goal means more money for LMC.
To see how the number is formulated, visit tinyurl.com/ftes-formula.
The state funds the college $4,700 per FTES.
“229 growth FTES would result in approximately $1,076,300 in additional revenue,” said Horan.
That number, 229, is what LMC figures would be the maximum number of FTES growth at the college.
While the 20 FTES currently enrolled over LMC’s goal may seem low, it’s important to remember that the college hadn’t even been hitting the state set goal for some years and so far is ahead of the number and in good standing to break the spell it has been under.
An important factor in managing FTES expectations year-to-year is what the college is doing to ensure people attend.
Retention of current students and recruitment of prospective students is becoming a larger focus for the college.
“We have developed a new retention and support team to specifically work with students that are on some level of academic probation or are at risk of being placed on academic probation,” said Horan.
This work aims to help keep students inspired and on-track in their studies.
The program would allow different departments to effectively communicate with each other about students that may need help in order to ask “why are you struggling” and what can the college do to help, said Robin Armour, director of Admissions and Records.
Another factor that usually impacts enrollment at LMC is the economy, something the college, historically, has a love-hate relationship with.
Enrollment generally reflects an inverse relationship with the economy, said Armour, meaning that when the economy is in better standing, enrollment tends to be lower, and vice versa. This semester, however, is proving to be a quandary, which defies the norm.
Armour said the influx of students required more staffing for the department during the early days of the semester.
She also noted that having most student services under the same roof in a more “spread out” layout helps with getting students the help they need in order to enroll, adding that, the space provides a nurturing environment that encourages students to remain in good standing with their grades and goals.
The struggle to maintain and grow enrollment numbers will continue for semesters to come, but with new programs and efforts in place, numbers should remain steadily climbing towards a yearned for level.