ACC’s enrollment continues to grow at its newest campuses and is gaining momentum across the district.
Uncertified fall semester enrollment on the 12th day of classes (the official attendance reporting date) was 41,574, up from 40,949 in fall 2014.
“We’re seeing a turnaround in enrollment trends,” says Neil Vickers, ACC’s vice president of finance and budget. He notes the increase is significant given the area’s relatively strong economy and other higher education options. Community college enrollment typically rises during periods of high unemployment and falls as jobs become available.
Growing enrollment at ACC’s three newest campuses is relieving overcrowding districtwide. Increases at Highland Campus (up almost 39 percent) and Hays Campus (up 25 percent) put those locations near their capacity.
Although Elgin Campus enrollment —up almost 23 percent over a year ago— is increasing at a slightly slower pace, it is expected to continue to expand with the college’s Veterinary Technology and Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurship programs. The Veterinary Technology Program enrolled its second cohort of students this fall, while the Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurship Program introduced several new classes.
The Highland, Hays, and Elgin campuses are included in the collegewide capital improvement projects taking place over the next few years.
While enrollment in tech-related programs continues to be strong, ACC’s Division of Social & Behavioral Sciences and Division of Communications had the biggest increases in fall enrollment, up almost 6 percent and 5 percent respectively. Social & Behavioral Sciences Dean Gaye Lynn Scott says the increase is largely from higher enrollment for Effective Learning: Strategies for College Success (EDUC 1300), the success course now mandated for many students.
Communications Division increases reflect higher enrollment in developmental reading, developmental writing, and English courses.
Enrollment in math and science classes also has increased from a year ago, in part due to higher enrollment in Developmental Math (MATD 0421). The individualized-paced course introduced last year at Highland Campus is offered on a limited basis at Pinnacle and Round Rock campuses. (More Pinnacle sections will be added this spring.)
Mathematics Department Chair Carolynn Reed says enrollment in other developmental math courses has shifted in response to a defined non-STEM pathway for developmental math students. Non-STEM students now may take Developing Mathematical Thinking (MATD 0385) without first completing Elementary Algebra (MATD 0370).
Enrollment in college-level math classes, particularly College Algebra (MATH 1314), also has increased.
Dual-credit enrollment increased slightly, reversing last year’s declines after changes in Texas Success Initiative requirements impacted the number of high school students who qualified for dual-credit courses.
Manor Center enrollment almost doubled with the launch of a workforce training center developed in partnership with Manor High School.
Provost Dr. Charles Cook said that while the strong enrollment trends are good news, it’s vitally important to make sure students complete what they start.
“It’s important that we continue to support students once they’re here,” he says. “We want to ensure students achieve their academic and career goals, whether it’s earning a certificate or degree or transferring to a university.”
In addition to the students taking credit courses, ACC this year will enroll about 15,000 Continuing Education and Adult Education students.
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