South Plains College has enrolled 8,868 students for the 2019 spring semester, which SPC President Dr. Robin Satterwhite calls “a good solid number” for the college.
The spring headcount improved 1.4 percent from a year ago when 8,744 students enrolled. The 124 student increase is due in large part to a 23.5 percent increase in the number of high school students taking dual credit courses from SPC.
“This increase in spring enrollment is very much welcomed at a time when the low employment rate in our region is affecting our enrollment of traditional students,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “I appreciate the hard work of our faculty and staff to help us reach that number and help our students continue with their college education.”
This spring 2,430 students are enrolled in dual credit coursework, much of which is delivered by SPC faculty through online courses. However, the College has also expanded its offerings of career and technical education (CTE) dual credit courses this spring which have contributed to the 463 student increase in dual credit enrollment.
“Our expansion of CTE dual credit is going to be of great benefit to our service area school districts in helping high school students attain the career and college readiness designation that is now part of a school’s TEA report card,” said Dr. Ryan Gibbs, vice president for academic affairs. “This is the first semester we have scaled up CTE dual credit, and as we move forward we expect our enrollment to continue to grow in this area.”
Dr. Satterwhite points out that historically, SPC’s enrollment has ebbed and flowed with the economic conditions of the South Plains region. During economic downturns, enrollment has increased as residents seek to be retrained for new jobs and students who stopped out of college return. When job opportunities are plentiful and unemployment is low, community college attendance tends to decline.