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Aid issues impact PHCC enrollment
College sees 5 percent drop

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Delays in processing financial aid requests apparently contributed to a drop in fall enrollment at Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC).

This semester, a total of 3,087 students are enrolled. That is a 5 percent drop from the 3,263 who were enrolled last fall, statistics presented to the college’s board on Monday show.

Full-time equivalencies are down 6 percent, from 2,244 last fall to 2,103 this semester, figures show.

Students are considered full time if they take 12 or more credit hours of courses in a semester.

PHCC now has 1,602 full-time students, a drop of 7 percent from last fall’s 1,718, as well as 1,485 part-time students, a drop of 4 percent from 1,545 in the same semester last year, according to statistics.

Jeff Porter, dean of student development services, said the decline in fall enrollment was “somewhat in line” with other community colleges statewide.

“Quite a few students were unable to get enrolled for the fall” due to a delay in their financial aid applications being processed, Porter said.

He said he hopes they will enroll for the spring semester.

All aid applications for Virginia community college students now are being processed at Tidewater Community College as part of a streamlining effort, PHCC officials said.

“It’s still new,” PHCC Public Relations Director Kris Landrum said of the new processing method, and the state community college system is “working out the kinks” in it.

College President Angeline Godwin noted changes in the federal verification process for information on aid applications.

The bottom line now is that students “can’t wait until the last minute” to apply for aid, Godwin said, because PHCC is “not in control” of the process anymore.

Also Monday, the PHCC Board learned that the college so far has received $25,218.36 of the $97,350 it expects to receive in funds from localities it serves during the fiscal year that started July 1.

Martinsville has paid its entire allocation of $17,720. Henry County has not yet paid any of its $52,467 allocation and Franklin County has not yet paid any of the $12,166 it promised the college, a financial report shows.

Patrick County so far has paid $7,498.36, almost have of its allocation of $14,997, the report reveals.

College officials said they expect the localities that still owe money will pay their full shares. Rather, some pay their amounts all up front and some make payments, and payments come in at various times in the budget year.

The board approved a total local funds budget request of $119,900 for the fiscal year that will start next July. That amount has been requested each of the past six years, a document indicates.

Since fiscal 2010, Franklin is the only locality to have paid the full amounts that the college has sought from it yearly, the document shows. Because of budget cuts, other localities have not paid their full requested shares.

Funding requests are based largely on the number of anticipated students from localities, which basically is based on their populations.


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