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Low enrollment at De Anza College leads to $1 million budget cut

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Because of a drop in student enrollment at De Anza College, there will be a $1 million dollar budget cut for the 2017-18 school year.

De Anza President Brian Murphy said enrollment has dropped in part because of lower high school graduation rates, along with commuting and housing costs putting pressure on working families.  

De Anza has been through worse budget cuts in the past that it has not fully recovered from, such as when the state cut funding about five years ago.

However, Murphy said there will be no layoffs this year and no programs will be cut.

“[It’s] a sign of respect for the men and women who work here. They need the security to do their work,” said Murphy.

To address the budget cuts, the De Anza faculty is assessing their vacant job positions, which are positions left by people who retire or move to another job, to see which need to be replaced and which they could cut back on or do without.

“If we were to eliminate positions they would be open, vacant positions,” said Susan Cheu, Vice President of Finance and College Operations, about the college’s strategy for the year.

Cheu also mentioned that it’s not only De Anza that is experiencing lower enrollment, but many community college districts in the state.

Murphy said that in general, community college enrollments go down when the economy is doing well because most people have work.

“We are not sure that dynamic is operating here. In other words, yeah there’s a lot of employment in the valley,” said Murphy. “But it’s not clear that that’s employment that presents the age of our students with the backgrounds of our students coming right out of high school.”

Despite the drop in enrollment, online enrollment has gone up by 22 percent from Spring 2016 to Spring 2017.

“The bread and butter of this place has always been its campus, the identity of the place is very much tied into the physical place,” said Murphy. “But if you need to grow your online enrollment to support the campus then that’s what you do.”

Although the situation may seem out of the students’ hands, they can still help increase enrollment. 

“A thing that students can do is encourage other young people to come here,” said Murphy. “It’s the simplest thing they can organize.”

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