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In my efforts to keep an eye on things, I sent a Texas Public Information Act request to the good folks at the Texas State Technical College System Administration to find out how registration is going for the fall 2013 term. I got a response a couple of days ago, and from the numbers they provided, TSTC West Texas is doing very well compared to last year.

As regular visitors may recall, President Gail Lawrence said in a July 30th e-mail, “At this point in the fall registration cycle, our enrollment is up more than one hundred students from this same time last year.” Things appear even better than that. My request asked for the enrollment as of August 2nd, and the TSTC system reported a fall enrollment for TSTC West Texas of 883, which consists of 535 returning students and 348 new ones.  Last year as of August 2, 2012, TSTC West Texas only had 553, so the college is doing some 330 registrations (422 returning students and 131 new) better. Whoa! That’s good news, particularly for employees afraid of losing their jobs like so many before have lost their positions over this self-inflicted enrollment crisis.

Now, as I mentioned in an earlier post, we have to take these numbers with a grain of salt. Last year administrators waived just about everything they could except the requirement to wear clothes in class, and they were eyeballing that one. I don’t know if they’re doing that again this year or not. If they are, then I would expect the de-registration process, which occurs after the start of the fall term, to take a heavy toll on the numbers. After all, the college reported 1,071 to the media last year but had to report a mere 810 to the state.

Still, with such a big lead over where the college was at the same time last year and with a couple of weeks to go yet, I would bet on TSTC West Texas to finish ahead of fall 2012’s numbers and finally–FINALLY–stop the drop.  Of course, I won’t make the call officially until I see the numbers reported to the Co-Board. I have the most faith in numbers reported to an entity that can bite back if the data turns out to be wrong for whatever reason.

Perhaps President Lawrence will succeed in finally “breathing life onto SW campus.” Since so many laid off employees have already paid the price for administrators’ decisions, let us hope that TSTC leaders have learned a little something from this expensive lesson.

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