College News

CCCC’s enrollment jumps 11 percent

01.16.2009College General

SANFORD — Central Carolina Community College’s spring semester enrollment for curriculum classes is already 11 percent higher than comparable day enrollment for spring 2008, with students still registering for some programs.

By Jan. 15, the fifth day of classes, total enrollment in curriculum classes at the Chatham, Harnett and Lee campuses hit 4,154. At the same time last year, enrollment was just 3,747, but continued to climb. The final figure for spring 2008 was 4,239.

Still to be added to this spring’s figures are approximately 500 students in Huskins and Earn and Learn programs, as well as vocational students at the Harnett Correctional Institution

“We are experiencing a big increase in enrollment,” said college President Bud Marchant. “It’s a reflection not only of the current economic situation, but also the quality of education and affordability offered by Central Carolina Community College.”

Many of those registering have been laid off or lost their jobs; others are just starting their college careers.

“We’re reflective of what’s going on all over the state,” said Ken Hoyle, vice president of Student Services. “We are seeing a lot of people coming for job retraining. We’re also seeing a lot of college-bound students whose parents are saying, ‘Go to CCCC and then transfer to a four-year college or university.’ When the economy goes sour, they have to think twice about spending their dollars. People realize we provide a quality education. They know they can get courses here for a drastically cheaper price than at a four-year school.”

Hoyle said that he expected the final spring registration figures to be close to 4,700. That would exceed the highest previous spring enrollment of 4,474, which occurred in 2007.

Community colleges are dealing with enrollment increases even as they are impacted by insufficient funding from the state. Per-year funding from the state is based on the previous year’s enrollment, not current enrollment. Central Carolina’s state appropriation for 2008-09 academic year current expenses is $27.6 million, only a few hundred dollars more than received from the state for 2007-08 current expenses.

In addition, due to the state’s budget crunch, the state has required community colleges to each revert (return) 3 percent of their 2008-09 appropriated state current expense funding. For Central Carolina, the 3 percent means $750,000 less in its budget.

“We appreciate our responsibility in meeting the needs of our community,” said Dr. Lisa Chapman, vice president of Instruction. “Of course, the need increases as our resources are becoming more limited. This makes it very challenging to do all that is needed, but we have outstanding faculty and staff who are committed to doing all they can to serve our community.”

Central Carolina serves residents, businesses, and industries in Chatham, Harnett, and Lee counties. Each county board of commissioners has increased its current expense funding for the college for 2008-09 over 2007-08. The increases reflect the boards’ understanding of the importance of the college to their residents and local economies, particularly in difficult economic times, when more residents take advantage of its programs.

Chatham has allocated $488,000 for 2008-09 college current expenses, an increase over last year’s $479,000. Harnett has appropriated $593,000, an increase from $541,000; and Lee, $2.2 million, an increase from last year’s $2 million.