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PHCC logs increase in enrollment
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
More students are attending Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC), but most are part-time.
Enrollment during spring semester totaled 3,245. That is an increase of 25 students — or 0.8 percent — from the previous spring, figures presented to the college’s board on Monday show.
Spring semester enrollment increased annually from 2008 to 2010 before declining the following year and rising again this year, statistics reveal.
Jeff Porter, PHCC’s dean of student development services, called this spring’s increase “a minimal but important gain.”
Amid the area’s population decline, “any gain in enrollment is a good thing,” Porter said.
When enrollment rises, “it means the community continues building on its educational base,” said Kris Landrum, the college’s public relations director.
That means “more people have the skills they need for jobs,” which shows potential businesses that the area has a quality work force, Landrum said.
Despite the increase, the number of full-time equivalencies (FTEs) dropped by 0.2 percent — tantamount to four students — in the spring.
Yet total FTEs increased by 32 — or 1 percent — to 2,512 for the current fiscal year, according to statistics.
State funding to the college is based on FTEs. The figure is calculated by totaling all of the credit hours that students are taking and dividing by 12, the number of hours students must take to be considered full-time.
There were 2,050 female students on campus during the spring semester. That is an increase of 53 — or 2.7 percent — from the previous spring, the statistics show.
The number of male students fell by 30 — or 2.5 percent — to 1,194.
Practically every coeducational college, including both public and private ones, has more females among its student body than males, Porter said.
“Maybe it’s because men have traditionally been the breadwinners” of their families and had less time to pursue higher education, Landrum speculated.
Figures show that in the spring, the number of white students dropped by 17 to 2,261, a decrease of 0.7 percent.
Meanwhile, the number of black students increased by 22 to 815, and the number of students of other ethnicities rose by 19 to 169, statistics show. Those are increases of 2.8 percent and 12.7 percent, respectively.
PHCC is seeing a rising number of Hispanic and Asian students, “reflecting the increasingly diverse population” of the area, Landrum said.
During spring semester, PHCC had 1,746 part-time students, an increase of 67 from spring 2011, and 1,499 full-time students, a drop of 43 from a year earlier, statistics indicate. Those numbers are an increase of 4 percent and a decrease of 2.8 percent, respectively.
Porter said the college traditionally has had many more part-time students than full-time ones because many people have jobs around which they must schedule their academics.
The Virginia Community College System designates PHCC to serve mainly Martinsville and Henry and Patrick counties and southern Franklin County. However, the college also attracts students from other places.
Those students include 93 from outside Virginia during the spring semester. That is an increase of 13 — or 16.3 percent — from the same time last year, statistics indicate.
Landrum attributed the increase mainly to athletic recruitments, as well as academic programs such as motorsports that are unique to PHCC.