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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Student enrollment is affecting faculty

Alex+Hoben%2FThe+Collegian%0ASE+student+Brooke+Newsome+sits+in+an+empty+classroom+on+SE+Campus.+
Alex Hoben/The Collegian SE student Brooke Newsome sits in an empty classroom on SE Campus.

Austin Folkertsma
campus editor

Districtwide from Fall 2019 to Fall 2021, TCC’s enrollment has dropped by thousands of students.

In Fall 2019, TCC reported that there were 51,099 students. In Fall 2021, there were 46,558 students enrolled. Community colleges have experienced an 11% decline since COVID, which is about 80,000 students, according to The Texas Tribune. Faculty and staff share their input.

“Like most other community colleges, the pandemic has negatively affected TCC’s enrollment,” said David Ximenez, associate vice chancellor for enrollment and academic support services. “The uncertainty, shift to virtual learning and safety concerns caused many students to not matriculate back at TCC, resulting in around an 8.5% enrollment decline from Fall 2019 to Fall 2020. Our Fall 2020 to Fall 2021 enrollments are at a 13% decline.”

He’s optimistic that enrollment will return to the same numbers from Fall 2019, but it’s difficult to predict.

“I think that people are anxious about coming back to school,” NE registrar Christy Klemiuk said. “I think we need to be a little more innovative on what we do to bring up our enrollment, and if we do that, TCC will recover. TCC has always been a great asset in the community, and I don’t see that forechanging in the future.”

She said not too many students have moved around due to classes being canceled at NE as opposed to other campuses. She previously worked at NW before coming to NE as an interim in April.

NE EMS instructor Jay Bales said he has lost students during the COVID shutdown. He also said one thing that has affected the program is clinical space. He said a lot of the hospitals aren’t allowing students in because of COVID concerns.

“Our last two classes that we’ve started up since COVID have been low enrollment,” Bales said. “What we’ve done is we’ve changed our program a little bit to where we can shorten the program. The program has been moved from 16 weeks to 12 weeks, and still provides the same number of content hours and increases our recruiting efforts.”

NE associate professor of English Lisette Blanco-Cerda said she’s had two classes this semester canceled because there were not enough students enrolled.

“Because I’m full-time faculty, I have to teach five classes minimum,” she said. “If I recall correctly, pretty much leading up to the start of the fall semester, there was a scramble to make sure that full-time faculty members had their load. I wasn’t the only one whose classes were canceled.”

From what Blanco-Cerda understands, there was a sudden spike in student enrollment from a particular date to right before classes had started.

She said low enrollment at TCC has affected her greatly. She said that often while she’s prepping and planning, classes are being canceled on her, and new classes are being added onto her, so there is the uncertainty of what exactly she is supposed to do.

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