Enrollment at a Lea County institutions of higher learning showed a dip in total enrollment numbers at the start of this school year compared to last year. One administrator says part of that reason is the local economy is showing a uptick.
At NMJC, Larry Sanderson vice president of development, institutional effectiveness & accreditation, said, “Our enrollment report for fall 2017 is a bit of a mixed bag, so to speak. We evaluate enrollment using two key measures: headcount and student credit hours. With regards to credit hours, we are currently at approximately 23,500 student credit hours for fall 2017. This is level with the same time last year.”
The total number of students, 2,350, is down from last year’s total of 2,798. The number of new students, however, is up. Sanderson said 659 new students enrolled this Fall, compared to 496 students at the start of the 2016 school year.
“When you look at these figures with regards to enrollment status you see another perspective,” Sanderson said.
“In fall, 2016, we had 1,106 full time students and this fall we have 1,112 full time students. We had 1,572 part-time students and this fall we have 1,238 part time students,” Sanderson said. “The decline in part- time headcount suggests the local work environment is getting stronger again. When the economy is difficult, people come back to school, even if it is only part time. When the economy strengthens, they feel less pressure or need to work on their college hours.”
“I took a quick look and the NM Workforce Solutions unemployment rate for Lea County in September 2016 was 9.8 percent. As of a couple of months ago, that number had gone down to 8 percent,” Sanderson said.
Sanderson said the number of students in college housing was down by 23 students.
“Last year we had 249 students in campus housing. That figure has declined to 226 this year,” Sanderson said. “At this point we have not made any kind of a detailed review that would give us any insights as to reasons for the decline.”
At the University of the Southwest, provost Larry Guerrero, said 1,023 students are enrolled, a figure that includes graduate students who take online graduate students as well as face to face students.
Dormitories are almost full, Guerrero said. “I think we have eight beds available. Our total capacity is 233,” he added.
Of the 1,023 students enrolled, 413 are face-to-face students, which means they are taking classes in traditional classrooms rather then in virtual classrooms.
Dorothy N. Fowler can be reached at 575-391-5446 or firstname.lastname@example.org.