Projects 30% international student decline
SBCC President Dr. Utpal Goswami said 85% of SBCC classes are going online this fall.
The SBCC Foundation posted a July 16 conversation between Dr. Goswami and foundation Chief Executive Officer Geoff Green on YouTube.
During the “COVID Conversation” Dr. Goswami said SBCC plans to conduct 15% of classes in-person with authorization from the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.
“Not all students do well in an online environment so we wanted to do a balance, you know, in-person instruction, face-to-face,” Dr. Goswami said.
He explained that some classes that require a lab session are best suited to in-person instruction.
Dr. Goswami said the school could have expanded in-person classes even further, but social distancing guidelines and costs forced the school to limit capacity.
He admitted that the school may not be able to open if Santa Barbara County is not at stage four of Governor Gavin Newsom’s reopening plan by the start of the fall semester on August 24.
“What has happened over the last two weeks makes it questionable that things will improve significantly between now and the end of August. We might get the situation where we will not be able to open,” Dr. Goswami said. He added that the governor’s office has been reluctant to provide guidance for higher education institutions.
“We are having to develop our own rules and metrics by which we may or may not do certain
things, and that is making it very difficult. The plan is that we will try to open
face-to-face, but if we’re not able to open face-to-face, then we will of course
convert all the classes that were scheduled to be in person to the online,” Dr. Goswami said
SBCC projects a 20 to 30% decline in non-resident students with a 30% decline in international students even though some students will be allowed to take classes online in their home country. SBCC expects the number of in-state resident students to remain at capacity with no growth.
“The decline that we are concerned about is basically the decline in non-resident tuition. If we don’t hit our target exactly in resistant students because of our three-year averaging, it is not a huge impact for the college. But for non-resident revenue, those are a direct bottom-line effect to the institution, so that’s the enrollment we are most watching carefully,” Dr. Goswami said.
Mr. Green noted that SBCC will notify teachers whether they will be teaching in the classroom or remotely by August 14.
Mr. Green added that during 2010, SBCC experienced peak enrollment during the economic downturn that year and enrollment has been declining ever since. He argued that COVID-19 has created competing trends in city-college enrollment.
“On one hand, an online-only environment has incentivized some students to kind of sit it out for the time. … On the other hand, recessions tend to incentivize spikes in enrollment traditionally for community colleges because people are out of work or looking to stay employed or upgrading their skills,” Mr. Green said.
Dr. Goswami took over as SBCC President in January. He has worked in community colleges across the country for 30 years. Dr. Goswami earned a master’s degree in development economics from Boston University and a master’s and a doctoral degree in economics from Southern Methodist University.