Enrollment at Trinity Valley Community College this semester is down compared to last spring, according to figures released by the college.
Combined enrollment across all campuses is down 5.5 percent – or a little more than 500 students – from Spring 2011 with the total number of students dipping below 9,000.
“This is in general following the pattern statewide,” said TVCC President Glendon Forgey. “After experiencing tremendous growth in the past few years, community colleges around Texas are beginning to see enrollments level out or decline.”
Forgey said the improving economy is at least partly to blame.
“As the economy strengthens, less of the workforce will enroll in colleges,” he said.
Most of the decrease for TVCC was on the Palestine and Terrell campuses, which were down 21 percent and 10 percent respectively.
“At TVCC, the reduction is in part to the economy and in part to a reduction in our dual credit students. In fact, our largest loss is in that area…. For example, the elimination of the Palestine Early College High School program contributed to the decrease in our enrollment. Also, some demographic changes in the school districts in our area, Forney in particular, resulted in fewer students being eligible for dual credit courses.”
Forgey said he understands that budget constraints are a big reason for the declining dual credit students.
“We know our high school partner districts are seeing the same reductions in budgets we are experiencing,” he said. “We already waive the tuition for those students, but understand schools around the state are tightening their belts.”
TVCC’s own budget will take a hit because of the falling enrollment. Because of it, the college will likely lose about $100,000 in revenue, Forgey said.
He added, however, that the college budgeted for a smaller increase in enrollment than in past years and said the college has cut operating expenses, which will help offset the loss of revenue.