Foothill College anticipates a fall enrollment of 16,500, with about a quarter of those aged 19 and under and apparently coming straight from high school. Classes began on Monday.
Between 13 percent and 18 percent of Gunn and Palo Alto high school graduates enter community college after graduation each year, according to figures supplied by the Foothill-De Anza Community College District.
The high schools themselves publish somewhat lower percentages. Gunn said 13.7 percent of its Class of 2010 indicated they planned to attend two-year colleges, and Paly published a figure of 9.2 percent.
Nearly twice as many students as a year ago have expressed interest in Foothill's Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) program, officials said. The program enables students to contract with various four-year institutions for guaranteed admission, conditional on their maintaining a certain Foothill GPA.
"We are seeing very strong interest in university transfer," Foothill Associate Vice-President Kurt Hueg said.
Foothill has transfer agreements with 19 institutions, including University of California campuses at Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz. Several California State University campuses also participate in Foothill's transfer guarantee program as do some private institutions, including Santa Clara University, the University of San Francisco, University of the Pacific and the Cornell University School of Environmental Engineering.
Overall, a growing percentage of students appear to be interested in earning an associate's degree or transferring to a four-year institution, Hueg said. Those reporting such an interest went from 47 percent last fall to 56 percent this year.
Hueg said about half of Foothill's fall enrollees have a high school diploma as their highest education but did not necessarily enroll directly from high school.