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Enrollment figures at WC outpace peer colleges, dual credit growing in popularity

Enrollment figures at WC outpace peer colleges, dual credit growing in popularity.

It is a common trait among community colleges that as unemployment increases so do enrollment rates. Subsequently, a strong economy with more jobs correlates with a decrease in community college students.

Given the improving economic climate, Weatherford College, like most Texas community colleges, saw a decrease in enrollment for the fall 2014 semester. The good news is that among its peer group, other Texas colleges with similar enrollment numbers, WC performed very well.

At 5,636 students, WC is down less than one percent in student headcount compared with last fall. However, over the past two years, WC still holds a 1.3 percent increase while statewide enrollment is down 3.2 percent over the same time period.

At WC’s Board of Trustees meeting Thursday, College President Dr. Kevin Eaton said he is encouraged by the college’s enrollment data when compared with the rest of the state.

The WC Wise County campus has a 1.75 percent increase in its student population year-to-year and dual credit and online courses continue to increase in popularity across the entire five-county area served by WC.

In a strategic plan update report later in the meeting, Dr. Arleen Atkins, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, further discussed the increasing popularity of dual credit courses, where students earn high school and college credit simultaneously. WC now has articulation agreements with all high schools in the service area to offer courses to their students with one of the newest programs being a dual credit cosmetology program at Weatherford High School starting in the spring semester.

In other business, the board approved:

  • Bids for color and web printing;
  • The purchase of JET grant welding equipment and ultrasound equipment for sonography;
  • A renewal of proposals for commercial charter bus services;
  • The purchase of radiology equipment;
  • Updates to policies incorporating a ban on all electronic cigarettes and electronic vapor devices.