College enrollment up, official says | NevadaAppeal.com

College enrollment up, official says

Becky Bosshart
Appeal Staff Writer

More community college students are getting ready to start classes today compared to last year, according to preliminary enrollment numbers issued by Western Nevada Community College.

College enrollment is up 7 percent at the Carson City campus from 2005 and as much as 10 percent for the college system overall, according to preliminary student counts.

So far, 3,157 students are registered at the Carson City campus, compared to 2,950 this same time last year, said Anne Hansen, director of information and marketing services.

Enrollment at all campuses – which includes Carson City, Minden, Fallon and the five teaching centers spread out across rural Western Nevada – showed a 10 percent increase over 2005, according to preliminary numbers released Friday by the college. As of Friday, 5,088 students were enrolled at all WNCC campuses, compared to 4,613 the same time last year.

Even though these numbers are higher than the year before, that could change. Friday was the last day for students to make tuition payments, and some often don’t make the deadline, Hansen said.

“Those who want to get back in will have to get back in with a late fee, if space is available,” she said.

The student services center at the Carson City campus was crowded with students completing last-minute details before they start, or continue, their community college education. By noon Friday a long line had formed in front of the cashier’s office. Students had to sign in at the counselors’ office for guidance that could shorten – or increase – their college time. Older and younger students were clustered in front of the financial aid desk seeking advice. One student assistant said this is the day when students figure out if they want to solidify their education, or just drop out.

“The year looks great,” said Deborah Case, interim director of counselors at the Carson City campus. “We have lots of students taking (class) placement tests and meeting with counselors. They’re getting off to the right start.”

WNCC also has teaching centers in Fernley, Hawthorne, Lovelock, Smith Valley and Yerington. About 49 degree programs and several certification programs are available at the Carson City campus, 2201 W. College Parkway.

“It’s wonderful to begin a new academic year, and to have our students and academic faculty back in college life,” said college President Carol Lucey. “This year, in connection with our new strategic plan, we’ll be putting our emphasis on student success, retention, increasing graduation rates, and student involvement on campus.”

Nationwide the trend is for more people to continue their education at colleges and universities. A projected 17.6 million students are enrolled in the nation’s colleges and universities, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Of those students, 38 percent are aged 25 or older. The majority are attending school part-time. About 30 percent of undergraduates are attending two-year institutions, such as WNCC.

Hansen said the number of new WNCC students is up 5 percent from the previous year. The number of full-time students is steady, and part-time enrollment has increased about 5 percent. Another telling number – online class registration has about 100 more students this year than last, 806 to 717.

• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.