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Palomar Sees Low Enrollment in the Spring Semester

Enrollment numbers at Palomar have continued to stay low because of remote learning, as the Spring 2021 semester enrollment matched that of the fall of 2020.

Like many other schools around the U.S., Palomar College has adapted to full online learning for the 2020 to 2021 school year. Many factors include fewer student enrollments in the spring semester, with the COVID-19 pandemic preventing in-person support with a professor or counselor and impacting student work and personal life.

Male Palomar students had a higher percentage decrease in the spring term by -22.3%, and female students had a -10.1% decrease, according to Julie Lanthier Bandy, Director of Communications, Marketing and Public Affairs, who spoke on behalf of Dr. Vikash Lakhani, Assistant Superintendent and Vice President of Student Services at Palomar College via email.

“Our trade and industry department was impacted the most with class cancelations due to COVID-19,” Lanthier Bandy said. She shared that the Performing Arts and Behavioral Sciences courses experienced the most cancelations due to low or no enrollment.

“Overall headcount declined 16.2%, a change from 22,893 in Spring 2020 to 19,178 in Spring 2021,” she added.

Dr. Kendyl Manguson, Senior Director of Enrollment Services at Palomar expressed via email, “This year [enrollment] is no different.”

“We have not yet started our late start fast track 2 classes, so the numbers will go up,” said Magnuson.

No final headcount has been provided as of now, but it is expected to be a low enrollment compared to the spring of 2020.

On a Zoom call, Palomar College freshman Alexander Matthew Parviz expressed that “online learning is extremely difficult to get used to.”

“I’m still not used to it, it’s really difficult, it’s really a pain because I feel like a communication aspect of being able to go in and talk to somebody knowing who to go and meet,” he said.

He also mentioned that phone calls were not going through when he tried to get in contact with the counseling department to discuss his schedule and plan at Palomar.

Parviz said that not being enrolled in the required units to maintain his Palomar Promise eligibility for the spring semester is due to the lack of communication he had with the school.

Palomar Promise is a program for first-time college students (enrolled in 12 units or more) with two free years of course enrollment and related registration fees, such as textbook support.

“It was really frustrating, really stressful and it really, really messed me up, especially for my classes and my plan for going forward since I had no communication until about a week before, two weeks before classes started,” Parviz said. “So I didn’t know what classes I was supposed to be taking, I just took the recommended one because I had no counselor to talk to.”

“My plan is to go to Palomar [in the] fall regardless of COVID-19 because of how the semester went. I’ll have to defer my transfer year to 2023 instead of Fall 2022,” Parviz added.

No one is certain if Palomar will return to full capacity in Fall 2021, but the administration is working on providing a plan to have some on-campus classes.

“We are not making any predictions at this time. We are hopeful that our student retention efforts will positively impact our fall enrollment. We also know that the current reduced impact of the pandemic on our campus will have a positive impact on enrollment since we are planning to be able to offer more face-to-face classes,” said Lanthier Bandy.

“Planning is underway, but there have been no firm decisions on how many classes might be held on campus for Fall 2021,” said Lakhani. “Being that there remain many unknowns, it is too difficult to make a prediction with much accuracy at this time. However, it is hoped that more classes will be able to be held in person and that overall enrollment will increase.”

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