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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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PHCC enrollment totals go up

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) saw a 50 percent increase in dual enrollment students this fall, far surpassing the previous record.

The new record comes amid a 2 percent increase in overall enrollment for the fall semester, figures provided to the college’s board Monday show.

A total of 948 dual enrollment students are taking classes this semester, up from 630 last fall, the figures show. The previous record was 687 in 2005.

Dual enrollment pupils now make up about 30 percent of PHCC’s headcount.

The program enables high school students to take college courses so they can earn community college associate degrees at the same time they earn their high school diplomas.

Enrollment in the program has fluctuated from year to year. However, the program has seen overall growth because it lets students and their parents save on college costs. Students potentially can enter a four-year college or university as a junior upon graduating from high school, according to PHCC Public Relations and Marketing Manager Kris Landrum.

Through agreements with the local school systems, high-schoolers take dual enrollment classes at no charge, Landrum said.

Some classes are taught on the college’s campus, while some are taught at the Piedmont Governor’s School and at high schools, she said.

Regardless of their location, “they are Patrick Henry Community College classes,” she emphasized.

A total of 3,163 students are enrolled this fall at PHCC, up from 3,087 at the same time last year, figures show.

Just three community colleges statewide saw their fall enrollments go up, and “PHCC led the pack” with its 2 percent increase, said Dean of Student Development Services Jeff Porter.

Despite the increase in students, full-time equivalencies (FTEs) dropped 3 percent, from 2,103 last fall to 2,047, figures show.

FTEs, based on the number of students taking 12 or more credit hours of classes in a semester, influence how much state funding the college gets.

The actual number of full-time students fell 7 percent, from 1,602 last fall to 1,487, while the number of part-time students jumped 13 percent, from 1,485 to 1,676, according to statistics.

PHCC saw a 44 percent decline in Trade Act students, from 157 last fall to 88, figures show. Those students receive government benefits to be trained for new jobs after losing their previous ones.

Landrum attributed the drop in full-time students to having fewer Trade Act students, who are required to enroll full-time to receive their benefits.

There are fewer Trade Act students because “we’re losing fewer jobs” in the Henry County-Martinsville area, she said. “We saw an upsurge when factories started shutting down” due to economic reasons.

Now, she added, “we’re returning to the standard” enrollment situation in which part-time students traditionally have outnumbered full-time ones.


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