Fall enrollment up nearly 5% at SWTJC

Email this article 09/21/2012

Official fall enrollment is up nearly five percent this year, according to SWTJC Dean of Admissions Joe Barker.

In his report at the Sept. 20 meeting of the SWTJC Board of Trustees, Barker said the increase in enrollment this fall is bucking the state trend.

"Only nine of the 38 community colleges that have already reported this fall's enrollment are reporting increases in headcount and we are certainly glad to be one of them," Barker said. "This is encouraging news."

The official headcount this fall is 5,923 compared to 5,664 a year ago, a 4.6% increase. Total contact hours are also up approximately 2%, Barker told the board.

"A good deal of our increase in enrollment is from dual credit students who usually don't take more than six hours, so that's the main reason our increase in contact hours is lower then our increase in headcount," Barker said.

However, Barker said an increase in dual credit usually translates into increased enrollment and contact hours in future years.

"We looked at data going back several years and when dual credit enrollment increases that is a good indicator of an upward trend in the future," Barker said.

A breakdown of enrollment by site shows Uvalde with 1,347 students, Eagle Pass with 1,362, Del Rio with 978 and Crystal City with 182.

This fall's enrollment is the second highest in school history. The all-time record enrollment of 6,235 students was set in the fall of 2010.

In other matters at their Sept. 20 meeting, the board adopted a 13 cent tax rate for 2012. The rate is the same as last year and represents an increase over the effective tax rate of .42 of a cent. Using the average value of $63,962 for a resident homestead in the taxing district, the rate adopted will increase taxes by $2.69.

Board members Victor Lopez and Harry O. Watkins voted for the tax rate and board members Elena Lara and Tony Moreno voted against. Board president Rodolfo R. Flores cast the deciding vote, voting to adopt the 13 cent tax rate per $100 valuation.

Board members also voted to increase the college's optional retirement plan (ORP) contribution from 6% to 6.4% to match the retirement contribution for employees in the Teacher Retirement System (TRS).

The board also heard a report on the 2012 Community College Survey of Student Engagement and an update on the Achieving the Dream program. Board member Elena Lara also reported on this summer's conference of the Community College Association of Texas Trustees (CCATT) and directed board members to the association's web site for upcoming events and additional information.

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