Text: FC decreases online courses nearly 50% for Spring 2022 semester Picture: Woman wearing a mask.

Fullerton College is offering around 61% of its available courses for Spring 2022 online, partly due to nearly 50% of students that wished to remain either online or on zoom according to a survey taken in October with around a 14% response rate. Enrollment has also decreased for Spring 2022, with just over 10,000 enrolled by early December.

Although the college was unsure what the results would be for enrollment, enrollment so far has shown that students are favoring online courses. It is unclear if the decrease in enrollment correlates with the lack of available online courses in the upcoming semester since the vaccine mandate has been imposed.

The survey indicated 90% of respondents would return for Spring 2022, but the conclusion may have been off.

Although Covid decreased enrollment by about 2,000 students, the lack of available online courses may have a larger impact on Spring 2022 enrollment than the pandemic itself.

Although COVID-19 decreased enrollment by about 2,000 students, the lack of available online courses may have a larger impact on Spring 2022 enrollment than the pandemic itself. Photo credit: Rachel Lopez

As of Dec. 6, 10,237 students were enrolled for Spring 2022. More are expected to register before enrollment closes, but it is unclear if the Spring semester enrollment numbers will catch up to the 19,778 students that were enrolled in Fall 2021 by the end of the enrollment period.

“Looking at the enrollment numbers, it does seem students are leaning to online courses, and we are adding more online offerings in response,” wrote Director of Institutional Research and Planning Daniel Berumen in an email.

A total of 2,286 classes are available for spring. However, as of Dec. 18, only 349 online courses are still listed as “open,” which means the rest are closed or waitlisted. Of the open online classes, 21 English classes and 5 Mathematics classes are still available without being waitlisted.

Around 1,492 out of 10,237 Fullerton College students aren’t cleared to register on campus due to a lack of vaccine verification. Students that have been cleared or have uploaded their vaccination records are at 8,745.

Although only 14% are not cleared to return to campus, those not verified are not the only students that tend to enroll in online courses. Students who have jobs, have a far commute, or are parents also enroll in online courses and others. Due to the changes in available online courses for Spring 2022, FC students will be racing for a spot in the online courses.

This also does not include students who have not yet enrolled for Spring 2022 courses yet, as more are expected to enroll by January.

Enrollment has decreased since COVID-19. According to Berumen, enrollment in Spring 2019 was 21,727, and Spring 2020 was 21,332, and Spring 2021 was 19,778. Enrollment is still open for Spring 2022, and numbers will grow but may be lower than in previous years.

“I am not sure what will happen if enrollment is extremely low for in-person classes. We would know a couple of weeks before classes start and then move forward from there but at this time we are not clear on what will happen,” said Dean of Social Sciences Jorge Gamboa.

Institutional Research and Planning of Fullerton College has assessed the student's preferences of online courses over in-person courses during Spring 2022 enrollment. The result is a reponse for more online courses to be added before registration period ends.

Institutional Research and Planning of Fullerton College has assessed the student’s preferences of online courses over in-person courses during Spring 2022 enrollment. The result is a response from Fullerton College to add more online courses before the registration period ends. Photo credit: Rachel Lopez

Students that submit vaccination records late may face being waitlisted for in-person classes and may not be able to take all the desired or required classes needed. The same will go for students who are not cleared to be on campus next semester, for online courses. In addition, many online courses are filling up quickly, with online and zoom being highly desired for students that wish to not get vaccinated or remain remote.

If enrollment is too low, Fullerton College professors may face challenges in preparations to accommodate adding more online classes than originally anticipated without sufficient notice. However, if enrollment does not come close to the previous semester, some courses may not have enough to remain open for the upcoming spring semester.

Edit: This article has been updated to include the newest information from the college.

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Rachel Lopez (She/Her) is a journalism major from Westminster, CA. In her free time, she likes to go bowling and cook.

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