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PCC enrollment grows by more than 4 percent

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This spring, the largest post-secondary college in the state is getting bigger.

Portland Community College grew for the third consecutive term. The college’s enrollment numbers from its Office of Institutional Effectiveness show that the college increased by 4.1 percent in total headcount from spring term of 2007 to spring term 2008 and total full-time equivalent (FTE) students increased by 5.9 percent.Registration area at the Rock Creek Campus.

Total headcount after the fifth week of spring term stood at 34,335 which is up by 1,353 students from a year ago (32,982) while FTE’s were at 6,220.26, which is an increase of 347.82 from last year at this time (5,872.44). FTE is calculated by a formula that gauges the college’s student numbers in terms of full-time enrollment.

The Southeast Center (2305 S.E. 82nd and Division) grew by 2.9 percent in total headcount of all non-credit and credit enrollment (12,778 students compared to 12,417 a year earlier), but swelled by 35.9 percent in core credit course FTE enrollment. Enrollment in this area also increased by 12 percent during fall term and 20 percent in the winter term compared to last year’s respective enrollment.

“Our enrollment is booming,” said Craig Kolins, dean of instruction and student development at the center. “Due to the classes needed to satisfy the enrollment growth and because of the increase in community use, it is all creating space limitations for us.”

For the 2007-08 academic year, the Southeast Center had more than 200 students on waiting lists each term for writing, math and English for Speakers of Other Languages courses. Kolins said that demand also has increased for biology and other science courses in oceanography, geology and meteorology. Currently, the center doesn’t have the science lecture and lab courses needed to let students meet the lab requirements they need to earn an associate’s degree and must complete these at other campuses.

In addition to the enrollment surge, more than 50 businesses, community and government organizations have used the facilities this year.

“With our enrollment growth, we have had to limit community use of our facilities at the Southeast Center to accommodate the growing number of credit and non-credit students who want to take classes,” Kolins added.

Each of the three comprehensive campuses offers complete paths to an associate’s degree at their respective locations. Here is how they faired:

Rock Creek Campus, 17705 N.W. Springville Road

This campus in Washington County, known for Veterinary Technology, Landscape Technology and Biology programs, experienced the biggest surge in enrollment. Rock Creek increased by 10 percent in total students and 11.7 percent in FTEs. In spring of 2007, the campus had 7,430 students, but that number skyrocketed to 8,174 for spring term this year.

Cascade Campus, 705 N. Killingsworth St.

The inner Northeast Portland campus, which is home to Trades and Industry, Computer Technology and Business Administration programs, along with the Margaret Carter Skill Center, had 546 more students enroll this year for the spring to swell to 7,329 total students, a change of 8 percent. The number of FTEs expanded by 5.4 percent with a total of 1,274.52, almost 65.61 FTEs more than last year (1,208.91).

Sylvania Campus, 12000 S.W. 49th Ave.

The southwest Portland campus – the largest in PCC’s 1,500-square-mile district and houses such programs as machine manufacturing technology, early childhood education, sign language interpreter and automotive technology – experienced an increase in student enrollment 2.9 percent in headcount and 1.9 percent in FTEs for spring term. Headcount grew to 12,289 students, which is 343 more than last year at this time (11,946), and FTE increased to 2,504, up by 47.22 from 2007 numbers (2,456.78).

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »