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PHCC enrollment was up in summer

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Enrollment at Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) was up this summer and, as usual, most students attended classes on a part-time basis.

The student head count rose from 1,005 last summer to 1,034, a roughly 2.9 percent hike. The number of part-time students rose from 924 to 955, while the number of full-time students dropped from 81 to 79, statistics presented to the college’s board on Monday showed.

In the summer, part-time enrollment always is substantially greater than full-time enrollment, college records show.

Among Virginia’s 23 community colleges, PHCC and John Tyler Community College in Chester were the only ones to see summer enrollment increases. PHCC’s was the larger; John Tyler’s increase was about 1.8 percent.

The Virginia Community College System saw a 5.9 percent enrollment drop this summer, from 86,690 students at the same time last year to 81,562, a report that the board received shows.

PHCC’s number of full-time equivalencies (FTEs) fell by 7 percent, from 399 last summer to 371, statistics show.

Statewide, there was a roughly 7.2 percent drop in FTEs, from 31,846 to 29,563, the report shows.

FTEs are derived by totaling all of the credit hours that students take and dividing by 12, the number of hours needed to be considered a full-time student.

According to Vice President for Academic and Student Development Kristen Westover, potential reasons for PHCC’s drop in FTEs include changes in how developmental (remedial) programs are carried out and a better economy — more people have jobs and do not need training for new ones.

An indicator of that could be fewer Trade Act students. They receive federal aid for training after losing their jobs due to foreign competition in industries or their jobs being shifted to places overseas with cheaper labor costs.

The number of Trade Act students at PHCC dropped by 60.3 percent, from 116 last summer to 46 this summer, statistics show.

The FTE figure is important because it is used by the state to determine the amount of state funding that the college receives.

Funding levels were not discussed at the board meeting, but PHCC President Angeline Godwin said state funding for the college has declined from roughly 60 percent of its budget in 2008 to less than 40 percent.

College officials indicated that drops in FTE levels are somewhat to blame, although they mirror a statewide trend. They said PHCC is aggressively trying to find new sources of funding, such as grants, and trying to save as much of its local funding as possible to put toward any future major needs, such as new or expanded facilities.

Local funding includes money from the localities PHCC serves and fees for student activities and parking on campus.

Because of state financial constraints, the chances of the General Assembly appropriating money for a new building are “next to none,” and it is extremely hard to get state funds for facility improvements, according to PHCC Vice President of Financial and Administrative Services Jack Hanbury.

Also Tuesday, the PHCC Board:

• Learned that the college has reserved $35,854 to install security cameras in its parking lots.

Hanbury said the college has not seen a lot of crime and mischief in its lots but cameras help keep incidents from occurring.

“We don’t have (enough) personnel to monitor cameras 24/7 (around the clock),” Hanbury said. However, if crimes occur, evidence caught on camera can help campus police with their investigations, he said.

Officials did not have a time frame for installing the cameras.

• Learned that Godwin will be at the White House today, participating in an invitation-only discussion of educational issues.

The event is a continuation of an event there earlier this year in which she participated.

• Recognized Barry Jarrett as its new chairman, as well as new board members Janet Copenhaver and Paul Geib.


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