Student count down, FTE up at GCCC
By ANGIE HAFLICH
While the student count is down, enrollment for the Garden City Community College's 94th fall semester has increased.
According to GCCC Registrar Nancy Unruh, this year, 1,997 students are enrolled at the college, a 3 percent decrease from a year ago when the count was 2,059.
Because students are taking more credit hours this semester, however, GCCC's full-time equivalency (FTE) is at 1,430.1, an increase of 2.1 percent over last year's 1,401.5.
FTE is calculated by dividing total student credit hours by 15, according to a state-mandated formula.
The state also requires counts to be taken on the 20th day of the term for official purposes.
Dee Wigner, executive vice president at GCCC, said that, overall, there has been a gradual increase in enrollment over the past three years.
In the fall of 2011, the FTE was 1,307.8 and in the fall of 2010, the FTE was 1,404.9. In those same years, the student count was 1,887 and 2,009, respectively.
"We're certainly pleased to see these numbers," said Ryan Ruda, vice president for student services.
Ruda attributed the growth, in part, to high school student enrollment.
"We've had significant increases in our enrollment from Garden City High School," he said.
Of the students enrolled at GCCC, 57.1 percent are Finney County residents, with 25.8 percent coming from other Kansas counties.
Wigner said that of the seven counties in the college's region, including Finney, Kearny, Hamilton, Scott, Lane, Wichita and Greeley, 406 high school students are taking the equivalent of 2,159 credit hours.
She said that a large number of GCHS students either take classes on campus or at the high school.
"We have a wonderful partnership with GCHS that allows us to offer classes on their campus, and they allow their students to attend classes on our campus," she said.
Ruda said it is believed that there is a growing realization that the community college offers high-quality education at rates that are far more affordable than four-year universities.
He also cited scholarship recruitment, noting higher numbers of students involved in athletics, fine arts programs and other opportunities.
"There has been growth from the career and technical side, too, in terms of people enrolling to learn new career skills and earn their degrees or certification," he said.
As of Monday, students are registered in 21,452 total hours of college credit, up from 21,023 hours on the 20th day of the 2012 fall term.
Along with enrollment numbers, Unruh also issued the 2013 fall semester demographic report.
The report indicated that 54.1 percent of students are women and 45.9 percent are men; 50.5 percent come from minority or non-reported ethnic backgrounds; and 49.5 percent identified themselves as white.
According to the report, 80.4 percent of students are traditional, college-aged students and 19.6 percent are 26 or older.
The Kansas students represent a total of 58 counties, while the out-of-state students represent 37 U.S. states and five other nations, Brazil, the Bahamas, Canada, the United Kingdom and Honduras. The greatest number of out-of-state students are from Texas, at 54, followed by Colorado, at 30.
Enrollment figures will continue to change as students enroll in later-starting courses and drop current courses.