Some Colleges See Increase In Enrollment Despite State Funding Cuts

by Diane Tuazon
NewsWest 9

WEST TEXAS - For community Colleges in the Permian Basin, this year school year came with quite a shock; at least when it comes to student enrollment.

"It's gone up quite tremendously. We're up 13% from last fall and we have almost 5,200 students on campus. It's really an enormous increase for us," David Bauske with Odessa College, said.

Bauske says the increase in student enrollment is partly due to the slow economy.

"Students are taking more hours of credit. Now that the economy is not good, they're becoming full-time more often," Bauske said.

Midland College isn't too far behind.

"Right now we're up and setting a new record. Looking into reaching 6,000 students. It's looking really good," Ryan Gibbs with Midland College, said.

Both schools are dealing with a booming student population and a busted budget at the same time after the state cut back on school funding.

"It continues to drop from the state. We actually had to cut our budget this year. It's difficult to service out students without increasing our budget and staff. We don't have as many classes this year as last year," Gibbs said.

Both Midland and Odessa College are hopeful that even with funding being cut, the increase in enrolled students will help significantly.

"We built a budget for a 2% increase in students, and instead it's 13% increase, so enrollment is making up in that shortfall," Bauske said.

Late registration is going on right now, so Midland and Odessa college say they're still expecting more students to enroll within the next few days.