Enrollment down from fall semester by 1,100 students

alma bustamante | The Ranger Photography Instructor Brent Cavanaugh leads a spring class in Parcells Hall on the Washington Street Campus. Enrollment is down this semester by 10.7 percent.

With Amarillo College enrollment numbers down, some students and faculty members wonder whether the changes will affect them.

This semester, about 9,100 students are enrolled at AC.

alma bustamante | The Ranger Photography Instructor Brent Cavanaugh leads a spring class in Parcells Hall on the Washington Street Campus. Enrollment is down this semester by 10.7 percent.
alma bustamante | The Ranger
Photography Instructor Brent Cavanaugh leads a spring class in Parcells Hall on the Washington Street Campus. Enrollment is down this semester by 10.7 percent.

It is about a 10.7 percent decrease compared to fall 2014, but almost the same number of students enrolled the previous spring, when enrollment was around 9,200.

Bob Austin, vice president of student affairs, said AC is working on a plan to encourage students to stay enrolled and not drop out.

“That’s the most effective thing we can do,” Austin said. “We are down about 1,500 adult students.”

He said the number of students 24 years old and older has decreased since 2010.

Another thing AC is doing is reaching out to the community and letting potential students know about the programs available at AC.

Austin said the director of financial aid is working on a plan to increase the number of people in the community who have applied for federal financial aid.

Austin also said he is working on advertising to everyone in the community regardless of where they plan to go to college.

“Come to Amarillo College and get help completing the FAFSA,” he said.

FAFSA, the free application for federal student aid, is the general application to determine eligibility for financial aid.

“The cost of living continues to go up, and unfortunately the same thing seems to happen in colleges and universities,” Austin said. “Not sure if it will go up this year.”

He said he is not aware whether enrollment will have effects on instructors or students.

AC is set up to accommodate 12,000 students, he said.

“We are working on budget cuts right now,” Austin said. “Working to bring all of our budgets in to 5 percent less than last year.”

If numbers do not increase, AC will not hire more staff, Austin said.

He said AC will continue with the same number of faculty and staff members.

“I heard enrollment is down, and we haven’t been as busy as I expected to be,” said Rachel Butler, a business administration major and a peer mentor.

Butler said she believes lower enrollment will affect students because fewer students means tuition will go up.

While it will not affect her personally, since she will be graduating this May, Butler said she thinks there definitely will be a budget issue and that tuition will go up before staff gets cut.

Colt Williams, a mechanical engineering and computer science major, is a student worker in the Career Center.

He said he doesn’t think the enrollment situation will affect students other than having fewer students using the Career Center.

Budget planning for the next school year still is in process. Final numbers will determine just how much the drop in enrollment has affected AC.

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