Frank Phillips College releases fall enrollment numbers

After the talk surrounding the state legislature looking into placing Frank Phillips College on the list of community colleges to potentially lose state funding in January, a fair question to ask was, how the negative news would potentially impact the college’s enrollment this fall.During the FPC Board of Regents meeting on September 19th, the college released their head count for the fall semester which showed 839 academic students and 271 career and technical students for a total of 1033.In comparing enrollment numbers between the fall semester of 2011 to the fall semester of 2010, FPC did see a considerable drop in the enrollment of academic students from the 1,045 number of students enrolled in 2010. While the academic number of enrolled students was down, the career and technical student enrollment saw an increase in enrollment with 24 more students compared to the fall of 2010.As the Board of Regents was looking at the enrollment numbers, Frank Phillips College President Dr. Jud Hicks told the board the numbers were disappointing. However, Dr. Hicks said the college has confidence with the plan it has laid out for the future and expects to see the numbers improve.During the board meeting, Dr. Hicks didn’t spend a lot of time saying if he believed the news surrounding the state funding issue had a big impact on the enrollment numbers. However, he told the Board of Regents that the changes within the athletic department contributed greatly to the lower numbers.Due to the suspension of the Plainsmen Men’s golf program and the short amount of time several of the new coaches had in putting together teams, Dr. Hicks said the student athlete number for FPC is down by around 70 students from the fall of 2010. Part of the student athletic decrease is due to a couple of the programs carrying smaller rosters than previous years. However, circumstances within the volleyball and baseball programs during the spring and summer led to both programs not being able to retain many of the players from last year’s teams. This left the student athlete number about 20 people short of what the college would like to see in that area. In the Career and Technical programs, FPC saw a substantial increase of enrollment in its Agriculture, IMAT, and Nursing programs.In the Agriculture program, the enrollment number climbed from 11 students in 2010 to 48 this fall.Continuing Education contact hours saw a increase in March-May and June-August from 2010 to 2011.From March-May, Continuing Education hours increased from 16,636 to 25,796 and from June-August the college saw an increase from 18,736 to 31,367.Also during the September meeting, the Board of Regents approved receiving a $50,000 grant from the Amarillo Area/Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation to be used towards the renovation of the biology lab.