It’s noticeable in the classrooms, in the cafeteria, the student lounges and most definitely in the parking lot – student enrollment is up.
According to Trina Ballard, the Director of Admissions and Outreach, enrollment is almost up to 18,000 students, putting Bellevue College neck and neck with Washington State University.
Many factors have contributed to the increase in enrollment and as a result, BC is feeling both the positive and negative effects.
Along with the usual high school graduates that register for classes at BC, many adults have decided to go back to school.
An increase in college enrollment is not an unusual trend during difficult economic times. Many people want to go back to school to earn degrees so they can find new jobs or be more secure within the jobs they already have.
BC has implemented different changes in order to help alleviate some of the challenges students might face because of the change in enrollment.
During the first week of school, tables were set up in front of the B building and experienced students were put on staff in order to answer any questions new or returning students had.
Also, more lines were added in the B building in order to clear up some of the congestion.
Class sizes have also been affected. “Classes are so full. They’ve added sections in every department,” said Ballard.
Many popular classes have been English 101 and the prerequisite math and science classes.
The increased enrollment hasn’t been the only issue for BC. “With state budget cuts, we actually lost some people so that’s been a challenge but all of our employees are team players so they’ve stepped up to the plate,” said Ballard.
Student Programs has also felt the impact of the increased enrollment. “There are a lot of positives and then some challenges,” said Faisal Jaswal, the Assistant Dean of Student Programs.
The clubs on campus are thriving. “Clubs are chartering very fast. I see a lot of action,” said Jaswal, but the challenge lies in the fact that they are “trying to serve more people with less.”
Despite the challenges, the Student Programs office is coping well. “Enrollment is up, but so is our spirit to serve,” said Jaswal.
In order to deal with the overwhelming amount of new students, Student Programs plans on moving some funds around so they can hire more staff in order to serve the new students.
“We’re community builders,” said Jaswal. The most important thing Student Programs does is connect students to the people that can help them.
Whether it’s a club, an advisor or someone from Student Services, there is always help in Student Programs. The increase in enrollment has only motivated them to work harder.
Even though both Student Services and Student Programs have made strides in dealing with the increased enrollment, students are still noticing problems, mainly in the parking lots.
“Parking has been a huge issue,” said Joseph Root, Associated Student Government (ASG) president.
In order to find a parking spot, a student has to either come to class half an hour early or half an hour late. The school has tried to deal with the situation accordingly.
BC spends a great deal of money in order to subsidize bus prices and Root encourages students to either ride the bus or carpool.
For a carpool pass, students should contact Student Services.
Concerning increased enrollment, there’s almost always a plus and a minus, however BC seems to be coping well under the pressure.