Summer Session Enrollment Limit Policy

Course Enrollment Cap Process

Summer Session is an increasingly important educational opportunity for students to make progress on their degrees toward timely (or earlier) graduation. Summer Session can reduce course impaction during the regular quarters, especially in courses where the number of available seats does not meet the demand for seats. Summer enrollments provide employment for faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates. Growth of summer session offerings and enrollments is an important campus-wide priority. Summer Session will facilitate course enrollment caps necessary for course sponsoring agency success in offering their curriculum over the summer term as follows:

  • Courses with a Senate-approved enrollment cap can only be exceeded if a course revision is approved by the Committee on Courses of Instruction (see deadlines here).
  • Online courses developed as part of the annual on-line course development call are subject to the enrollment cap guidelines established in that process. If there are unique circumstances with one of these courses during any particular summer, they should be discussed with the Summer Session office.
  • In all other cases, the provost/chair of a course sponsoring agency may request an enrollment cap in their units’ Call for Courses spreadsheet. Such caps will only be increased with approval of the provost/chair of the course sponsoring agency.

Course sponsoring agencies and faculty are strongly encouraged to consider effects on pedagogy and facilities when determining whether an enrollment cap is absolutely necessary. Low enrollment caps may result in students pursuing opportunities elsewhere. In general, caps should accommodate last year’s enrollment plus 25 percent to account for annual enrollment growth. Course support in the form of teaching assistants and readers will continue to be assigned in late May based on total enrollment in each course sponsoring agency.

Course sponsors will have until March 1 to change an enrollment cap for courses submitted in the Call and until May 1 to request an increase or removal of enrollment caps. To assist in managing online enrollment, course sponsors can request to close enrollment after the second day of instruction.

On March 15 when Summer Session goes live in the online Schedule of Classes, all classes will show an ‘enrollment capacity’. Courses without an enrollment cap will have an ‘enrollment capacity’ that matches projected enrollment (last year’s enrollment plus 25 percent growth), used to identify rooms of appropriate size due to scheduling software requirements. Summer Session will continue to monitor enrollment, adjusting as necessary for facilities needs and following Senate-approved or provost/chair-approved caps.

Online Courses:

For an online course's first year, a department can request a cap, the minimum being 65. This cap can help accommodate the new mode of instruction.  As instructors become more familiar with the mode of instruction and courses improve, caps are removed. In a course's second offering, it will have no cap.  If major revisions are needed, departments can request exceptions.

It is important to note summer class size is smaller, typically than the rest of the year. Summer online course enrollment averaged 80 students in 2019, 69 in 2018, 55 in 2017, and 50 in 2016. Trends indicate more significant numbers of students enroll in online summer classes, then drop them, so expect a decrease when classes begin.

Over-enrollment and Dropping:

Consistently, students artificially inflate enrollment numbers (enroll then drop).  With no use of summertime waitlists, classes fill when low caps are set.  Then many students are unable to enroll, but when classes begin and many seats open, it’s too late for the students who have made other summer plans.  In 2017, 474 seats were dropped after classes began. Due to the nature of summer enrollment behaviors, higher (or no) enrollment limits are critical to accommodate students considering summer classes.