According to an e-mail recently sent to all hands at TSTC West Texas by President Gail Lawrence, enrollment is looking up out there. My previous post highlighted her statement that the college was about 100 enrollments ahead of where it was at this time last year, and in the same e-mail she said, “Indeed, preliminary numbers for the Fiscal Year 2013, show that West Texas alone in our college system enjoyed positive enrollment growth.” Wow! That’s pretty surprising to a fellow like me who’s been following the numbers pretty closely, albeit from afar.
Why does that statement about positive enrollment growth surprise me? Two reasons: (1) fall 2012 and (2) spring 2013. Now if we don’t count those flex entry students, and the state does not in its figures for total enrollment, TSTC West Texas’s fall enrollment fell from 995 in 2011 to 810 in 2012, a significant drop of over 18%. No matter how many students you do or don’t have, that’s a serious hit. [LATE ENTRY: I decided to check the TSTC system’s student data site, and it, too, shows a significant drop from fall 2011 to fall 2012.]
As for the spring 2013 semester, I don’t have any figures from the state, but in a previous post I’ve already discussed some numbers from the TSTC System Administration website that provide a clue as to how well the college made out then. The numbers maintained by the system reveal that, once again, enrollment was down, although not by a whole lot, just 22 students.
Of course, I don’t have summer 2013’s enrollment numbers yet, but with two of the three FY 2013 semesters available online and reflecting drops, that summer 2013 semester must have been a humdinger for President Lawrence to claim a positive enrollment growth! Even if the state doesn’t, I suppose the college could be counting its flex-entry students and any lizard that happens to cross the campus, too. [The system’s figures show a loss whether one includes flex entry or not.] One way as the other, I’m hoping that those numbers are, indeed, up! We’ll see.