Students hopping from one campus to another

stress student
A stressing student, a common sight among campus hoppers. Photo courtesy of The American Institute of Stress.

By Stephanie Alonso
Pulse staff writer

One in 11 students, or 9 percent of the total student population, attends more than one Alamo College.

In Fall 2010, 5,312 students of 60,990 total students (8.7 percent) were cross-enrolled, and 5,961 students of 59,282 total students (10 percent) were cross-enrolled in Spring 2011.

Velda Villarreal, district director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness Services for the Alamo Colleges gave the numbers of these “swirling” students cross-enrolled at different campuses.

“Every student I know at the Alamo Colleges is a ‘hopper,’” said Jenna Ablaza, a Geology and Environmental Studies major attending Palo Alto College and San Antonio College.

Bianca Del Conte, a sophomore History major attending Palo Alto College and St. Phillip’s College, said, “Ideally, I would like to take all of my classes at Palo Alto. I believe that if a student spends all of her time at Palo Alto because that is where she attends classes, then she is more likely to participate in student activities and events.”

Classes have a required capacity for the class to make. If the class is capped at 24, the course must have 75 percent paid enrollment two weeks prior to the start of classes. Therefore, if 18 students are signed up but only 16 have paid, then the class will be cancelled and the 16 students who have paid are left with the dilemma of finding another class that fits their schedule.

Del Conte said, “I am required to take two semesters of a Science course. Palo Alto was not offering Biology 1408 or 1409, so I had to take them at St. Philip’s.”

Ablaza said, “I cannot think of a single person that is not in my situation and has had the luck of being able to take all of their courses at their home school.”

Aside from lack of convenience, cost is another issue that students would benefit from if they were able to attend all of their courses at the same campus. With the price of gas nearing $3.50 a gallon, driving from one college to another adds up.

“It is stressful because every time you enroll in a new college, you must pay another fee, so our budgets are also affected,” said Carolina Millan, a Communications major in Radio, TV and Film.

Ablaza said, “I have had to split year-long Science courses between two colleges. I had to take [Chemistry I] at St. Philip’s College because all sections were full at [Palo Alto College].  I had to buy a $200 textbook and $100 lab manual. Then, because it was more convenient, I took Chemistry II at PAC the following semester. Much to my aggravation, the textbook and lab manual I needed were different.”

Del Conte said, “I just think that if the city of San Antonio is trying to pull residents into this sense of ‘community,’ then they would do well to make sure students are able to take all of their classes at the campus of their choice, which will make students care more about their school.”

The Alamo Colleges have a reputation for catering to students’ needs. The Alamo Colleges’ student body ranges from recent high school graduates to those with many years of workforce experience to returning war veterans and retirees.

“Isn’t education the most important thing in humanity? Then why are they cutting our wings?” Millan asked.