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Tue, April 23

New courses increase YC enrollment

During a time when enrollment numbers at community colleges statewide are shrinking, business is good at Yavapai College.

Census day (the 45th day of enrollment during the spring semester) numbers show a 20.7-percent increase in student headcount and a 9-percent increase in full-time student equivalent (FTSE) numbers between 2005 and 2006. The state bases the amount of money it gives colleges on the FTSE statistic.

On census day 2005, said Karlyn Haas, tri-city communications manager, Yavapai College enrollment numbered 8,255 students.

This year, census day fell on April 7 and enrollment numbered 9,962 students. The FSTE increased from 2,866 to 3,122 during that same period.

According to a press release from the college, Yavapai College is rebounding from construction-related inconveniences and "internal upheaval" during a time when other community colleges in Arizona are struggling to keep enrollment numbers up.

During an April 11 Yavapai College Governing Board meeting, President James Horton said the college has "experienced phenomenal growth in a short period of time."

"We're making progress and having success because we're meeting the needs of our community," he said.

Specifically, said Sue Sammarco, the college's director of public information, the college has increased its online course offerings.

While, she said, "the general education classes hold their own with consistent enrollment, now that we're offering those courses online, we get a whole new population."

According to a press release, online courses have shown a 24.9-percent increase in headcount and 28.9-percent increase in FTSE, which makes up for 7.6 percent of the school's total FTSE.

Also, enrollment numbers have grown in the physical education (PE) and fitness areas, Sammarco said, mainly because the opening of the newly refurbished health, PE and recreation building and swimming pool.

The completion of other construction on the Prescott campus also has contributed to the enrollment growth.

The school has begun to offer shorter-format courses as well, so students don't have a semester-long time commitment when they want to take a class, Sammarco said.

Bob Lynch, vice president for administrative services at the college, said during that April 11 meeting that "(property) tax is the single largest source of revenue" for the college.

Generally, county property tax is about 70 percent of the school's budget, state support is about 13 percent and tuition and fees are the rest.

Each year, legislators set the amount community colleges can levy from taxpayers.

They have until August of one fiscal year to provide final levy numbers to community colleges for the next fiscal year.

Lynch will present a preliminary budget to the College Governing Board in May, and the board is set to approve a final budget in June.

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