FPC sees increase in spring enrollment

Frank Phillips College saw an increase in student head count from the 2011 fall semester to the 2012 spring semester.In an enrollment analysis presented during the FPC Board of Regents February meeting on Monday afternoon, the college saw an academic head count increase of 852 this spring compared to 839 in the fall of 2011.In combining academic and career and technical head count, the college saw a six-person increase, going from 1,033 to 1,039 between the last two semesters.While the numbers are seen as a positive step forward, FPC President Dr. Jud Hicks said the college administration is working to see the numbers continue to move up and is focusing on how to increase the number of credit and contact hours.Despite enrollment numbers seeing an increase, the college saw a decline in credit hours from 10,312 to 9,687 between the fall and spring semesters. Contact hours dropped from 243,048 in the fall to 222,428 this semester.The enrollment and credit hour numbers are down from the spring of 2011 when the enrollment head count was at 1,087 and credit hour numbers were at 10,369. But after the negative publicity the college received in the spring of 2011 due to a state proposal to have FPC as one of the four state community colleges potentially lose state funding, the slight increase in enrollment between the last two semesters is being seen as a positive step by some board members. In talking about the enrollment numbers, FPC Board of Regents member Jay Campbell commented, “The slight increase in head count is a sign that the college has been able to stop the bleeding from the negative press it received last year.”Credit and contact hour numbers are key figures in determining what kind of funding the college will receive from the state.Due to last year’s presented proposal, Dr. Hicks said the college is looking at all its options in order to increase credit and contact hours but at the same time preparing if the numbers cause the college to potentially lose some state funding.Dr. Hicks told the board, “We have continued to look for ways the college can reduce cost, while at the same time exploring what the college can do as far as expanding its class and program offerings.”In recent months the college has worked with several high schools in the area in extending its dual credit offerings and regaining the trust of the communities in the FPC service area.In regaining the trust of service area communities, FPC Dean of the Allen Campus in Perryton Dr. Lew Hunnicutt, told the board that doors are opening for the college to potentially have a physical presence in Dalhart.Recently Dr. Hunnicutt and Dr. Hicks met with Dallam County Judge David D. Field who has indicated he supports having FPC in Dalhart and has offered the college assistance in securing a Dallam County building that could be used for a Dalhart campus. Dr. Hunnicutt went on to say the college has received support from Dalhart area businesses, including Hilmar Cheese and the XIT Co-Op, who have shown interest in having the FPC conduct their company’s safety programs. Dr. Hunnicutt went on to say there are still several things that need to be worked out before the Dalhart campus is up and running. But Hunnicutt believes FPC can be offering programs like safety training and ESL in the near future.