Photo courtesy of College of the Desert. Students hanging out in the Cravens Student Center.
BY ALEXANDRO ZATARAIN
College of the Desert’s fall 2019 semester is in a healthy state. The college continues to increase its numbers showing continual upward momentum.
“We are at least six percent higher than last year,” said Dr. Oscar Espinoza-Parra, the dean of enrollment services at COD in reference to the year-to-date numbers from last fall 2018. As of Sept. 12, 2019, 13,466 students are enrolled across all programs.
“We look very positive. We’re still expecting some gains in terms of overall enrollments,” Espinoza-Parra said. “We’re approaching almost 14,000 students, and we’re projected to receive more.”
With the semester only in its first month, numbers are still very fluid and concrete numbers will not be readily available until roughly two months into a class’s completion. “We also have some programs that start their classes later on,” said Espinoza-Parra. “It’s very complicated,” Espinoza-Parra said when discussing with him the enrollment projections.
The expansion of programs and courses at the college have helped aide in the college’s growth in enrollment. There are more than 150 degrees, certificates and programs available for students. The list of course offerings continues to grow every semester as new curriculum is being developed.
The EDGE/pLEDGE program, which covers tuition, fees and provides summer-intensive English and math courses, has also played a prominent role in the rise of first-time freshmen straight out of high school. When asked about the numbers, Espinoza-Parra could not give an exact answer due to the fluidity of enrollment at this point in time. Nonetheless, he believes a rise is imminent this semester.
However, there is no one set of reasons as to why the college has seen such success in its growth. It is a formula, a culmination, of various factors in which administration draws upon to increase enrollment.
“A huge number of factors go into enrollment management. A lot of it is really based on assessing data, assessing patterns and obtaining input from department chairs, instructional deans and involvement and engagement of faculty,” said Espinoza-Parra.
The college’s various moving arms, such as the department chairs and deans mentioned above, act as a collective to obtain and disseminate information. Knowing the student’s educational plans, the courses needed most for each campus and the courses and programs students have interest in are all variables that shape the school’s catalog.
This comes just months after yet another record-breaking graduating class in May. COD conferred more than 1,576 degrees and certificates, a 50 percent increase over the last four years.
For more information on College of the Desert’s enrollment numbers and demographics, visit www.collegeofthedesert.edu.
(Note: There will be corrections made on Thursday, enrollment numbers).