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Students offered incentives to increase LSCC enrollment

As part of a multi-year plan to increase enrollment on PLNU’s campus, students will be offered monetary or scheduling incentives to take classes at Liberty Station Conference Center (LSCC) this spring.

In a campus-wide email, Kerry Fulcher, PLNU’s provost and chief academic officer, said students who enroll in general education or elective classes at LSCC will receive benefits depending on their class level. Freshman and sophomores will receive priority class registration for fall of 2014, while juniors and seniors will receive a $100 Visa gift card for every class they take at LSCC this spring.

Fulcher said LSCC serves as a significant part of an elaborate balancing act between the city-ordained campus enrollment cap and the university’s goal of increasing campus enrollment. As enrollment at LSCC increases, so do opportunities to offer more enrollment on campus.

“Managing our on-campus enrollments according to our conditional use permit creates challenges,” Fulcher said via email to the Point Weekly. “The part that the LSCC plays in that strategic priority is that it provides educational space that can allow us to serve about 200 more PLNU students.”

According to Fulcher, a large freshman class and high student retention rate encouraged the administration to increase enrollment at LSCC in order to counterbalance the corresponding decrease in available on-campus enrollment space.

“The flexibility of having LSCC allows us to more effectively manage our enrollments to insure that we operate within the conditions of our agreement with the city,” Fulcher said.

Fulcher’s claims align with previous statements made by President Bob Brower, who said in a September email interview with the Point Weekly that offering classes at LSCC was part of the expansion “process of making the undergraduate program less confined to only the main campus,” while simultaneously creating more on-campus enrollment opportunities.

Fulcher said LSCC enrollment in general education and elective classes this fall was 47 students, and that the administration has set a goal of 87 similarly-enrolled students in the spring. The long-term goal is to enroll 200 students at LSCC, Fulcher said.

In order to reach this goal, Fulcher said potential incentives were determined by the results of several student polls, which indicated that monetary compensation was the most common request. The funding for this incentive comes from PLNU’s general operating budget, which is influenced by overall enrollment.

Robert Contreras, a junior political science major, said that though the offer was ill-timed and insufficient for him to change his spring schedule, he could be influenced by it in the future.

“Personally I think this incentive program was a good idea,” Contreras said. “I didn’t change my classes because the time frame and teachers I chose were very intentional. However, in the coming semesters I can only dream of the number of Cali burritos, pumpkin spice lattes, slurpees, dates and In-N-Out trips this incentive might supply.”

Freshman Juan Iñiguez, who will take a New Testament class at LSCC this spring, echoed Brower’s sentiments about the significance of combating the educational confinement to PLNU’s main campus.

“[PLNU] is a bubble,” Iñiguez said. “I’m glad to be studying [at LSCC] because it gets you outside and in a different ambiance. It just refreshes your mind.”