More adult students than expected have already embraced the new fee-based course model offered at Santa Barbara City College's Center for Lifelong Learning, which on Monday kicked off a staggered semester of courses.
CLL Executive Director Andy Harper said officials were hoping to have at least 5,000 students signed up for the new comprehensive program, an offshoot of the college’s Continuing Education Division.
On Monday, 5,491 students had registered for some of the 506 classes offered mostly at SBCC’s Wake and Scott campuses.
Enrollment figures were encouraging, considering that registration will continue through the semester.
“We don’t have anything to compare it with,” Harper said of the program that charges $5 an hour for most courses. “The audience runs the whole gamut. We have a lot of new students.”
Monday marked the culmination of a year’s worth of planning for the new program, which came out of an SBCC Board of Trustees decision to help serve the needs of an increasingly diverse community.
The Center for Lifelong Learning offers 80 sessions of 50 new fee-based enrichment classes this fall — including new courses for Spanish-speakers — while the Continuing Education Division continues to provide college preparatory and certification programs. The division boasted 7,500 students total last year, Harper added.
On Monday morning, students of all ages happily participated in Zumba fitness, portrait sculptor and “Recycle, Refurbish and Refashion” courses on the Schott Campus.
Harper said filling most classes hasn’t been a problem, noting that just 7 percent of the 506 classes had to be canceled due to low enrollment or issues concerning some of the 188 instructors this term.
Popular courses so far seem to be music parent education, arts and crafts, ceramics and psychology, among others.
Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to apply, and a $75 tuition assistance voucher is available to those who qualify.
CLL classes start and end throughout the semester that ends Dec. 14, including evening, weekday and weekend schedules. A new “CLL Presents” lecture & special event series is also being offered.
Harper said the college has also recently redesigned the CLL website and its print schedules, and amped up its social media efforts.
“We’re hoping to reach people in different ways,” he said. “We want to be a community center. We think it’s going to be a big success.”