The fall semester is upon us and Feather River College continues to serve local communities in Plumas County and Northeastern California. The excitement of a new semester brings several new initiatives this year that benefit students and the community.
Free Community College
The legislature expanded the Promise Scholarship to waive enrollment fees during a student’s first two years at FRC. Recipients must be California residents and enrolled full time to receive this benefit.
The Promise Scholarship builds upon other tuition waivers and picks up the “last dollar” if students are not eligible for other fee waivers. Important to note is that Promise Scholarship recipients are not required to take out loans in order to receive the waiver; the purpose is to remove financial barriers for first-time, full-time community college students.
This fall, FRC awarded 37 Promise Scholarship waivers to students who do not qualify for other tuition assistance.
A major push is to accelerate college enrollment for local high school students who can benefit from taking FRC classes while still in school. These classes count for both high school graduation requirements and give students a jump-start towards earning a college degree. FRC has approximately 86 high school students who take classes online or on campus, and another 58 students who receive FRC credit at their local high school during their regular school day as part of a dual enrollment program.
Fall Enrollment Increases
Initial fall enrollment numbers paint a very strong picture for FRC with overall enrollment almost 7 percent higher than the last reported year. The bachelor’s degree continues to attract strong enrollment, with lower division classes benefiting by students working toward prerequisite classes so they can enter the program as they reach their junior year.
For example, FRC now offers two sections of first-semester chemistry classes per year for the first time in school history and soil science enrollments are also well above historic levels. Both of these classes are filled with lower division students who plan to enter the bachelor’s degree program.
Most general education classes are at capacity, continuing the enrollment increase where on-campus enrollment grew by 4.4 percent last year and FRC awarded 5.4 percent more degrees and certificates compared to previous years.
FRC offers a new program in Ecological Farming. This career certificate program is designed to help farmers of small to medium farms navigate the complexities of growing crops in our region, including the short growing season.
Students in the program either have a small farm business or are interested in starting one. The goal is to support local food growers and agricultural production in Plumas County and the high Sierra region. Specific training includes season extending techniques, natural pest control, small farm management, and a hands-on learning experience to prepare the next generation of local and small farmers.
Book in Common
A Book in Common is chosen every year to unite several classes through a common theme. The goal is to promote reading, conversations, and applications of a book’s topic to different curricular areas.
This year, “A Fire Story” by Brian Fies integrates classes ranging from Environmental Studies to Art/Drawing to English. The graphic novel covers the author’s loss of his home during the Santa Rosa fires of 2017, how he rebuilt his life, and asks the important question “What is important to your life?”
Brian Fies visited campus to meet with individual classes and work with both Creative Writing workshops and the Art/Drawing classes, as well as a public presentation at the Town Hall Theatre.
Some things remain the same
Student housing continues to be a challenge following a similar pattern from previous years. Despite the addition of two new housing units in the past five years, FRC had a waiting list of over 50 students who wanted housing at the start of the semester.
Summer inquiries from students who wanted to enroll often evaporated due to the lack of available and affordable housing. FRC lost several resident students to this matter, and the community lost out on their revenue, spending, and including them in the Plumas County family.
FRC realizes that a housing challenge exists for all Plumas County residents. Nevertheless, it is particularly difficult when a student visits the campus, enrolls in classes, and then never shows up because they could not find housing over the summer. This lost opportunity is something that FRC continues to address.
The Phi Theta Kappa Honors Program remains strong on campus. In addition, FRC is a national leader in promoting honor society membership to the Incarcerated Student Program. Not only do prisoners have the ability to improve their lives by obtaining an FRC degree, but they also have the option to graduate with honors. FRC is actively working with potential donors to support this unique extension of the existing campus honors society.
Athletics are off to a strong start. The Golden State accounts for the majority of student-athletes on fall team rosters as recruiting within California increased.
Volleyball is a nine-time defending Golden Valley Conference champion and is looking toward a strong showing statewide this fall.
The football team had a strong recruiting class and will improve over last year where two of the losses occurred in the last play of the game.
Men’s and women’s soccer start the year playing top teams from the state as they prepare for conference play.
Finally, the FRC Horse Show Team is looking to compete at both Santa Ynez and an on-campus competition as this club sport has grown in popularity and brought many new students to campus.
Focus on Students
Feather River College is entrusted to support the community, develop programs that attract, retain and graduate students, and ensure high academic standards. Feather River College excels at all of these principles with a very fiscally sound budget, students who graduate, transfer and find jobs, and a staff that is dedicated to their success. The fall semester at FRC is a time of renewal and excitement as students start the new year. In the end, we all have a philosophy of “Think Student” and the work of everyone at FRC exemplifies this ideal.