Associate degrees

FC Enrollment Declining Despite Rising Associate’s Degrees – Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The spring 2021 semester appeared to be a record high for student enrollment at Fullerton College in the past decade.

According to Joseph Ramirez, acting director of Fullerton College’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness, student enrollment for the current spring semester is 19,734, down 7.2% from the spring semester. previous spring.

In the fall 2020 semester, 21,792 students attended the community college. Although there has been a direct decrease in student numbers in the 2020-2021 school year alone, total enrollment has fluctuated since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and the implementation of the distance learning.

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic during the spring 2020 semester, Fullerton College reported a total of 20,417 students enrolled. Like VSovid-19 cases were still on the rise at the start of the fall 2020 semester, Fullerton College reported a total of 21,241 students enrolledwhich had shown an increase in enrollment during the pandemic.

Recent statistics provided by the acting director of Fullerton College’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Joseph Ramirez, show the fluctuating status of semester enrollment since the coronavirus pandemic. Photo credit: Rachel Cogswell

Although Fullerton College’s current enrollment status is below their average of 20,000 students per semester this recent year apparently due to the coronavirus pandemic, overall enrollment has been slowly declining over the past decade.

In Fullerton College’s latest annual report”Institutional Effectiveness Reportreleased in 2019, the community college said, “There has been a noticeable decline in the number of students enrolled at Fullerton College over the past five years.”

Fullerton College's 2019 Institutional Effectiveness Report showed a slow decline in the number of students enrolled at Fullerton College over the past five school years.

Fullerton College’s 2019 Institutional Effectiveness Report showed a slow decline in the number of students enrolled at Fullerton College over the past five school years. Photo credit: Rachel Cogswell

This statement was made prior to the coronavirus pandemic before the school transitioned to full, off-campus distance learning.

Some students admitted their struggles amid the shift to online learning, but persisted with their schoolwork. Current Fullerton College students Isabelle Madrid, 19, and Joshua Sandoval, 21, resolved their stress and heavy workloads by withdrawing from classes in the spring 2021 semester rather than dropping out altogether.

Madrid admitted that with other life circumstances and a full class schedule, she felt stressed and had “too much work”.

“I decided to drop a few classes so I could continue to be enrolled in school and continue learning and doing something. Dropping school or all of my classes felt too drastic – I just needed less work, no none. It helped me tremendously,” Madrid said.

Third-year drama major Joshua Sandoval agreed. With his initial schedule of five classes, dropping a class was the best option to ensure he stayed on top of his job.

“I’m pretty happy with my decision because my workload is just what I can handle. Having one more class certainly could have been more than bargained for. It’s not easier, but it’s manageable now,” Sandoval said.

Eager to pursue coursework and strive for an associate degree or associate degree for transfer; hard work pays off for students at Fullerton College, as associate degree completion rates have steadily increased over the past five years.

In the 2019 report and a current update for the 2019-2020 academic year provided by Ramirez, there was only an increase in associate degrees awarded.

According to Ramirez, the past academic year was the most associate degrees awarded in Fullerton College’s history.

Number of associate degree completions in the past five years.  Last year having the highest number of associate degrees awarded.

Number of associate degree completions in the past five years. Last year having the highest number of associate degrees awarded. Photo credit: Rachel Cogswell

There continues to be concern about the overall decline in community college enrollment in Northern Orange County. Chancellor Cheryl Marshall recently released a declaration recognize declining enrollment and put in place a potential reopening plan for future semesters.

“We will use the remainder of the spring term to update district and campus plans to return in greater numbers over the summer and fall,” Marshall said. “The number and mix of classes for the fall will depend on student needs, space availability, instructor availability, and health conditions in Orange County.”


Rachel Cogswell (She/Her) is a journalism major from Fullerton, California. In her spare time, she enjoys watching movies and editing videos.

Author: Rachel Cogwell

Rachel Cogswell (She/Her) is a journalism major from Fullerton, California. In her spare time, she enjoys watching movies and editing videos.