AACC Students Taking Fewer Courses After Rate Hike
College officials are looking at how to resolve a decline in the number of full-time students.
Enrollment is up, but students are taking fewer course hours, according to data from the end of the past school year at Anne Arundel Community College.
The college’s fall student headcount also took a slight dip below projections, in addition to the number of course hours, college officials said at Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting.
“We obviously don't like to see decline happen," said Vice President Felecia Patterson. "We will be more comprehensive across the college and make some adjustments.”
Patterson delivered a report on end-of-year enrollment and concluded the number of full-time students had decreased by about 260 between 2011 and 2012, from 15,568 to 15,508. However, total enrollment was up from 53,048 to 53,476.
Because the college relies on projections to allocate funds for its budget, the numbers coming in lower means the college stands to gain less revenue. Vice President Melissa Beardmore pegged that loss at about $300,000.
Newly appointed President Dawn Lindsay said the problem needed to be addressed, but first they should isolate where the problem lies.
“The students coming to the college increased (between 2011 and 2012), the issue is that they’re taking fewer units,” Lindsay said. “We’re looking into whether that’s a cost issue or something else.”
The trustees implemented a tuition rate hike for this school year in order to balance its budget. Trustee Arthur Ebersberger said raising tuition isn’t going to be a solution to budget issues if the existing students are going to take fewer classes.
Chairwoman Victoria Fretwell agreed, saying they would eventually have to explain this decline to the Anne Arundel County Council and the state, which both fund parts of the college’s operations.
“We can’t keep driving it up and expect to see a net increase,” Fretwell said.
Tuesday was the first meeting of the Board of Trustees since summer, and also the first for Lindsay, who received a special greeting from Fretwell at the start of the event. Lindsay said she is settling in and learning more about the college every day.
“When you're an institution that’s this stellar, you come to believe that that’s just the norm,” Lindsay said. “But when you come to an institution with fresh eyes, like I have, you realize there's so much to be proud of.”