Just this morning I sent in a Texas Public Information Act request to the Texas State Technical College System, Cc TSTC West Texas President Gail Lawrence, asking for the actual, for-credit student enrollment for the bellwether fall term as of August 2, 2013. I have to go this route since the college password protected its Institutional Effectiveness site since last year. We’ll see what I get, but it ought to be interesting since President Lawrence sent out an e-mail stating the college has already gotten, “more than one hundred students from this same time last year.” I’m hoping that she’s right. This suffering college, with an enrollment damaged from self-inflicted wounds, could use the break, and so could the employees, students, and the entire region for that matter. A healthy TSTC West Texas is in the public interest.
Now, having said that, when I do eventually get the number of actual enrollments as of 8/2/2013, my readers and I will necessarily have to digest that figure with a hearty grain of salt. Last year via a September 6, 2012 Abilene Reporter-News article, TSTC West Texas reported to the media that it had enrolled 1,071 students for the fall of 2012. About two and a half weeks later, as of September 24, 2012, its Institutional Effectiveness site reflected a total of 1,036– which, in a curious coincidence equaled the previous year’s, fall 2011’s, total reported in the same media article mentioned above. That 2011 figure doesn’t agree with the number reported to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, either. Finally, administrators ended up reporting a mere 810 to the state for fall 2012 or at least 810 enrollments the state was willing to count. That 810 number did not include flex-entry, which the state doesn’t include in the total. See the screen shots below:
Numerical discrepancies aside, an updated running number for 2013 will certainly be useful for comparative purposes as I try to gauge how the semester is going. I hope administrators are going easy on the waivers this year since waivers, I suspect, drive up the number of wash-outs on de-registration day, when unqualified students are scrubbed from the rolls. I further hope that the recruiters are working hard. From what I hear, I’m sure they are.
Meanwhile, here’s the text of my request. I’ll reveal the response when I get it.
Dear Mr. Sorrells,
In accordance with the Texas Public Information Act, please provide the number of TSTC West Texas, for-credit students actually enrolled for fall 2013 as of the close of business on August 2, 2013. Please note that I am specifically NOT interested in students who are still in the various stages of completing enrollment. I need the number of for-credit students who have completed the process and are actually enrolled at TSTC West Texas for the fall 2013 semester. TSTC West Texas’s for-credit fall 2012 enrollment on August 2, 2012 was 553, and I hope to see this year’s number for the corresponding 2013 date exceed that.
You may provide this information in PDF format via e-mail, provided it does not result in additional costs to me; otherwise, please send the records to me at [address redacted].
Questions concerning this request should be directed to me via e-mail.
–George W. Reamy
[phone no. redacted]