The provost of Humboldt State University makes the decision of which classes to cut for the following semester based on enrollment. Photo by T.William Wallin

Too soon to tell

HSU looks to cut classes earlier for low enrollment

Humboldt State University looks to cut classes earlier for low enrollment

Clarissa Cardenas is a first year student double-majoring in French and international studies. Initially, she enrolled in the wrong French class and had to switch and enroll into a different class a couple days into her first semester. If that class had been cut due to enrollment she would’ve never had the opportunity to enroll late.

For spring semester Humboldt State University is attempting to cut classes earlier for low enrollment than previous semesters, putting situations like Cardenas’ in jeopardy. Before classes wouldn’t get cut until after winter break and up until the first day of the semester, sometimes longer.

“I get nervous because the French program is small and if they cut those classes before school even starts then students have to scramble looking for classes,” Cardenas said.

Vice provost of the dean for undergraduate and graduate studies Rock Braithwaite said cutting classes is routine and happens every semester. It occurs in the transitional stage between the end of one semester and the beginning of the next. Braithwaite said they’re trying to do a better job identifying and assessing class enrollment so they can address cutting classes sooner.

“I’m almost embarrassed to say it but cutting classes happens up to the first day of the semester,” Braithwaite said. “Students are contacted if and when substitutions are needed.”

Cardenas said that cutting classes early is taking away the opportunity for students to enroll in vital classes if they enroll late. She knows logistically the university has to cut classes, but said students get the short end of the stick.

“Students enroll late in classes all the time and to cut those classes is very one-sided,” Cadenas said. “We shouldn’t be punished for enrolling late and should be given the opportunity to search for classes.”

Junior film major Alfonso Trejos said cutting classes early can potentially affect students’ financial aid. Trejos said it’s a better outcome if the school cuts classes later so students are already enrolled and qualify for financial aid. If the class is cut due to low enrollment while he is already enrolled a professor can show open classes to take.

“School is expensive and it comes down to the money most of the time for people,” Trejos said.

Maria Sanchez is a junior in social work and plans on interning her last semester. Sanchez said she doesn’t want to overload herself while interning, so she’s taking more than the unit cap of classes. She has to petition for the extra units she enrolls in and that takes time.

“Sometimes I’m not even able to enroll in a class until the first day of the semester,” Sanchez said.

Screen grab of social work course rotations.

The more time students have to search for classes without fear of having them cut, Sanchez said is best. She said it isn’t a huge deal to wait to cut classes like the school has been doing but for students cutting classes early is detrimental.

“In my department if you don’t get in or pass a class you have to wait an entire year to take it again,” Sanchez said.


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