The Texas State Technical College West Texas’s enrollment may very well have bottomed out and begin to struggle back up this fall.  Why would I say something so hopeful after the institution has steadily lost so many students every year since its high unduplicated student headcount in 2007? First, take in the image below (click to enlarge), a screenshot of a spreadsheet comparing fall semesters that I made from data downloaded from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Higher Education Accountability website:

West Texas Community Colleges & TSTC Tech & Acad Enrollment 130704

Now look at the numbers for TSTC West Texas for FY 2011 and FY 2012. Note that the number of technical students went from 820 in FY 2011 to 788 in FY 2012, a drop of only 32 students. Now look at the academic students for the same two years. Mercy! Academic students dropped from 175 in FY 2011 to only 22 in FY 2012. Of course the total count went from 995 students to 810 for the two fall terms, a drop of 185 students. Only 32 of that 185-student drop were technical students. The remainder, the vast majority, were academic students. As readers can see in the image above, TSTC West Texas didn’t report many remaining academic students to lose in FY 2013: only 22.

With relatively few academic students to lose, if the technical student population remains fairly resilient and TSTC West Texas staff go all out and maybe even make some gains, I’m thinking the college may well stop the drop this time around. I sure hope so.

Meanwhile, here’s something revealed in the image above to ponder: Four of the area’s regular ol’ community colleges have more technical students than TSTC West Texas does.

More to come concerning the data revealed in that image.

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