LUMBERTON — A drop in the number of students attending Robeson Community College could be costly for the institution.
“The drop in enrollment of about 1,000 students in two years is very significant,” Mark Kinlaw, a vice president of Instruction at the college, told trustees on Tuesday. “It will have a significant impact on our funding during the 2015-16 budget year.”
RCC, like all of the state’s community colleges, receives its state funding based on the number of full-time students..
Although the college’s enrollment figures are not final for the fall semester, which began Monday, Kinlaw said the number of enrolled students this semester is about 1,930 students, down about 500 students from last fall’s semester enrollment of 2,450. Fall enrollment for this semester is down about 1,000 students from fall of 2012.
“This is not just Robeson Community College. This is not just North Carolina,” Kinlaw said. “This is happening all over the country.”
Kinlaw said that the decrease in student enrollment is “across the board.”
“It’s not hitting one particular program more than any other,” he told the board.
Kinlaw said that it has become tougher to get financial assistance to attend the college.
“Financial aid is not as easy to get and keep now as it was in the past,” said Kinlaw.
Kinlaw said that to boost student enrollment, RCC will offer additional first semester courses mainly for students who could not enroll in time to attend classes at the start of the fall semester because their financial aid applications had not yet been processed.
Kinlaw also said that RCC, for the first time, is including the number of students enrolled in some summer classes in the number of students that are considered full time. He said that summer courses are not usually permitted to be used toward receiving “full time equivalent” funding.
During their Tuesday meeting, the trustees also:
— Heard a report from Pamela Hilbert, RCC’s president, concerning a utilities efficiency program for public buildings offered by the North Carolina Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service. Hilbert said that “performance contracting” is being considered as a means of improving heating and air conditioning as well as efficiency in college buildings.
“We will be gathering information about this over the next few months,” Hilbert said.
— Hired two new instructors. The new instructors are Michael Ordway, criminal justice; and Jameson Ingram, temporary culinary arts.
— Approved an update to the college’s master plan.