The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

SE wants part-timers to stay longer

By Jamil Oakford/se news editor

SE Campus is wrestling with a problem that isn’t unique to TCC or anywhere else: Part-time students outnumber full-time.

SE Campus will try to create more areas like the Bistro for students to relax between classes to promote full-time student attendance. Cay Livingston/The Collegian
SE Campus will try to create more areas like the Bistro for students to relax between classes to promote full-time student attendance. Cay Livingston/The Collegian

SE president Bill Coppola and administrators at the district and campus levels are working to understand how they can help students become full time.

In the spring, 82.9 percent of SE students were part time and only 17.1 percent were full time.

“It’s hard for us to plan a schedule when students are on a cycle,” Coppola said. “We have to offer everything all the time.”

Coppola first is putting together a task force with students, faculty and administration.

“We don’t want to presume we know why students are part time,” Coppola said.

One reason that brings the part-time student initiative to the forefront is completion rates.

“Part-time allows for stops,” academic affairs vice president Zena Jackson said. “If their goal is to transfer, full-time would put them on the path more quickly.”

And students, whether part-time or full-time, must keep in mind that going over the required hours for a degree at a four-year university could become costly.

“Students who transfer have to be careful,” Jackson said. “They can take more than they need and not all hours can potentially transfer.”

Though this is only one side of the struggle, administrators are aware that other factors play in as well.

“We understand there are other commitments outside of class, but the sooner we can get students to complete their degree, the faster they can self-improve,” Coppola said.

They also understand that part-time students are still deciding what their future plans are for higher education.

SE student Ashleigh Berkley is currently part time, balancing her hours at school and her job.

“I’m doing full time next semester,” she said. “I’m a freshman, so now that I have a feel for college, I can do it.”

Moises Casalinovo is also a part-time student on SE.

“I took all the easy core classes first, so now I only have a few harder core classes to take,” he said.

Though the numbers seem high, these numbers, gathered by the Coordinating Board at the state level, have taken a unique approach to counting TCC students.

“For example, if a student took nine hours at South Campus and three hours at NE, the student is listed as part time at South and part time at NE,” the report said.

So, there’s a group of students lost in the part-time numbers for all of the TCC campuses who are actually full-time students.

But the initiative is still there. Coppola is hoping that this is the beginning of a conversation.

“We want to change the conversation from going to college to finishing college,” he said.

Some early ideas that the administration has talked about are trying to keep students on campus, opening some classes up to be taken on Sunday and creating more sticky spaces on campus.

“As much as we like them, we want them to graduate,” Jackson said.

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