Correction appended

Enrollment at Santa Fe Community College has improved from this time last year, according to a report shared Wednesday at the school’s governing board meeting.

Fall semester began Monday with 3,823 students, up from 3,157 students at the beginning of the fall last year.

Student headcount fell 36 percent at the college between fiscal years 2016 and 2020.

“Unfortunately, the pandemic hit and we dropped significantly,” said Thomasinia Ortiz-Gallegos, associate vice president for student success.

Almost half of the courses at the school are taught online. Revenue from tuition and fees remains lower than pre-pandemic years.

“It’s slightly improved from our projection, but it’s still lower than it has been going back to 2011,” Vice President of Finance Nick Telles said.

The school declared a financial emergency in the spring, citing loss of revenue from declining enrollment.

Some criticized the college for maintaining a full cash reserve while laying off employees and cutting programs.

On Wednesday, President Becky Rowley said the school plans to make coronavirus vaccines mandatory for students and staff.

“Our focus is currently on trying to help get as many people vaccinated as we possibly can. … We are working towards a vaccine mandate in the near future,” Rowley said.

The school will provide information next week on a program that will give students a free credit if they become fully vaccinated.

On Tuesday, Northern New Mexico College President Richard Bailey announced all students and staff who “want or need” to be in-person on campus must provide proof of vaccination by Oct. 15 unless the school grants them an exemption for medical or religious reasons.

The University of New Mexico issued a similar rule earlier this month.

Earlier this week, Santa Fe Community College professor Xubi Wilson — who headed the school’s solar program before it was cut due to the financial emergency — filed paperwork to run for a seat on the governing board this fall.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported that Jack Sullivan was seeking reelection to the governing board.

(3) comments

Toby Wright

Congratulations to Marcos Maez and his incredible team for successfully increasing enrollment! Our SFCC is a gem and there are so many beneficial programs for young and old alike. As a College & Career advisor at the high school level, I have all the confidence in the world that SFCC can prepare it's students for success in a global economy. I am saddened by the fact that this article and its readers are focusing on the COVID-19 response instead of celebrating this great news.

Lupe Molina

Mandate masks. The governments can't find the courage to do it so every business needs to. Its the only way we get this behind us.

Ryan Jorgenson

Funny people, eventually we will have a vaccine mandate but for now we need cash, So we will let many die first.

People, go back to school, remove your mask and forget about the 1% covid, it’s ridiculous. Wake up!!!

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