By the Media Writing Staff Reporters
Amarillo College’s spring semester started Jan. 21 with increased enrollment. The number of students is up 3 percent compared to the same day last spring and credit hours are up more than 4 percent, Bob Austin, vice president of enrollment, said.
One of those students is Bobbi Andrada, a graphic design major.
“My goal is to pay attention and use what Amarillo College has given me. They provide good teachers that actually care to help. I really have to take advantage of that,” Andrada said.
Austin said one of the reasons behind the enrollment increase is AC’s adoption of curricular pathways that help students plan their educations.
“I think what it does for students psychologically is to help them to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Austin said.
The planning process was implemented four years ago, Austin said. It allows students to plan out their class sequences and see when they will graduate.
Austin added, “It creates a goal for them and it helps them to anticipate what’s next, instead of semester being a brand new day.”
This approach has helped keep students such as Lorenzo Antonio Barron, an art major, to stay on track.
“What eventually got me here was my own determination to do something better and make something of my life,” Barron said.
The Thrive Scholarship has also helped boost enrollment, said Austin. This new scholarship allows qualified Amarillo Independent School District graduates to attend AC for free.
Austin also noted that more students are attending classes full-time this semester, so they are taking more classes.
“Credit hours are up more than 4 percent and that’s really the most important thing because we get funded on the number of credit hours students produce,” he said.
Some students, however, are not enrolled this semester, but are planning to return.
“I want to save up and move out of my parents’ house and start classes again next semester,” Victoria Garcia, a general studies major, said.
Approximately 9,000 students are currently enrolled at AC, but final figures will not be released until after the 12th day of class, which is Feb. 6.