Enrollment rates drop at SPSCC

Less South Puget Sound Community College students are registering for enrollment while more students are switching over to full-time. This shift has caused an increase in the amount of students that are applying for financial aid, while classes continue to remain full.

SPSCC enrollment rate reports over the past year show that 5,677 students enrolled in classes for the 2011 fall quarter. This number dropped to only 4,986 students this past fall quarter, a decrease of about 700 students in one year.

Enrollment dropped 330 from last quarter. That drop is about par to last year’s fall to winter enrollments.

“We are seeing more full-time students instead of part-time. As employment gets better, the college rate drops,” said Dean of Enrollment Services Kathy Rhodes.

With more full-time students attending SPSCC, there haven’t been any cuts with classes or professors, as the number of classes being taken hasn’t dropped. This could possibly be due to the amount of younger students that are starting out their college education, said Rhodes.

Even though there has been a decrease in the overall amount of students, Rhodes has seen an increase in the number of young students at the college.

Running Start student Rachel Rayment, 17, said, “I was home-schooled, so I thought that going to college full-time would be a good idea.”

The increase in the number of young students at SPSCC isn’t just with Running Start students, but with 18-21 year olds who want to get an education before joining the workforce as well.

“I am a full-time student, largely because I want to learn. I enjoy learning new stuff. I know that I’ll have to get a degree eventually, so I might as well go for it fast,” said student Paul Romeijn-Stout, 19.

Unemployment peaked at around 10 percent during the recession, but is currently at only 7.8 percent according to the Center For Economic and Policy Research. More people are working instead of attending college, which is evident with recent enrollment rate reports.

Even though the number of students may be descending, financial aid has seen a complete opposite trend. In the past five years, there was a 173 percent increase in the number of applications.

This number will become even higher by the end of this year, Dean of Student Financial Services Carla Idohl-Corwin said. “We anticipate finishing this year about four to five percent ahead of where we ended last year.”