Dr. Beatriz Espinoza, Coastal Bend College president, told trustees that, as of Dec. 17, they had 2,212 students enrolled in the spring semester.
Of those, 752 were dual credit students.
“A third of our enrollment continues to show it is from our dual credit side,” she told the board members during their meeting on Dec. 17. “That is where I expect to see an increased enrollment—from the dual enrollment.”
In the fall, the college was short 231 students from its projected 4,410 students.
“That in itself is $322,000 in tuition and fees. We have to make up that gap in the spring and summer,” she said.
She said that they were able to make the budget work by cutting costs, but that is becoming increasingly difficult.
“We have looked at ways to cut costs and bring cost savings to the college,” Espinoza said. “Once you get past one wave of that, you have to dig really deep, and the savings are not as sizable as they were last year.”
CBC administrative staff has been battling decreased enrollment for some time now.
The college enrollment peaked about three years ago, Beatriz told the board previously.
One solution to increase enrollment was to open it earlier and get students signed up for the upcoming semester before they leave on break.
“Part of the reason to get our faculty to serve as advisors was to get our current students who were not graduating to continue on and help our retention rate and get them registered before they left,” she said.
“We didn’t have as big an impact as we had hoped for with that.”
The college, which closed for Christmas on Dec. 18, will reopen Jan. 2.
Espinoza said that they will begin recruiting students once they return in January.
“We really need to get a better handle on registering students early and holding onto them,” she said. “The one place I see us being able to bring new students in for the spring and summer semesters is on the dual credit side.”
Espinoza told the trustees that CBC’s projected enrollment actually needs to be broken down further because funding is different for in-district and out-of-district students and also for dual credit students.
“Part of our problem is we haven’t defined that. We do not know how many of those are dual credit that we don’t get tuition from and most fees from and which ones are in-district and which ones are out-of-district,” Espinoza said. “We have to clean that number up some.”
Another issue confronting the college is that the state has changed its funding structure.
“Ten percent of our funding from the state is tied to success points,” Espinoza said.
Examples of these points are certificate numbers and total hours earned by students.
“Head count is important... but we also need to be figuring out and leveraging those that we have, and we keep them long enough to get the success points for them,” she said.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.