Schenectady County

Part-time enrollment up, full-time down at SCCC

Schenectady County Community College’s full-time enrollment has dropped but there are more part-time

Schenectady County Community College’s full-time enrollment has dropped but there are more part-time students, a change college officials are attributing to the economy.

Full-time enrollment decreased from 2,744 students in the fall of 2010 to 2,675 students this fall. However, part-time students increased from 1,678 to 1,941 during that same time period, according to Schenectady County Community College President Quintin Bullock.

Bullock said more people may be working and have other responsibilities and not be able to handle a full course load. This is causing colleges to find creative ways to increase enrollment, such as offering programs at new locations and times.

SCCC did that this year by offering 61 courses at its Center City location downtown. More than 1,600 people are registered in classes there, according to Bullock.

Also, 235 students enrolled in “Late Start” classes the college offered after the beginning of the regular fall semester.

The college also has seen growth in its College in the High School classes — 2,815 students this year compared with 2,620 last year. Eighteen schools are participating, with Colonie High School the most recent addition, according to Bullock.

All told, enrollment is up about 2 percent, which Bullock said is great because other colleges have seen flat or declining enrollment.

The greatest increase in growth was in math, science, technology and health classes. Bullock said he anticipates more growth in the college’s newer nanoscale materials, alternative energy technology and air traffic control programs. “Students are completing the perquisites to get into those programs,” he said.

SCCC is also increasing the number of minority students. About 55 percent of students are female, according to Bullock.

Also, the class ratio is about 23 students to one teacher. Bullock said the goal is to get down to about 22-1.

College officials also hope to attract students through online programs, which SCCC is in the beginning stages of developing.

The college is also preparing for a series of capital projects to accommodate this growth and its expanded programs. Ground has already been broken on the 13,000-square-foot music addition to the Begley Building, which will contain practice space, recording studios, music classrooms and faculty office spaces.

Bullock said crews have finished removing asbestos from the former automobile service station building the college bought at 101 Washington Ave. The building should be coming down shortly and the parcel will be incorporated into the $15 million plan to build a 264-bed student housing facility at 117 Washington Ave. The United Group of Companies is constructing the 112,000-square-foot complex, called the College Suites at Washington Square, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2012. Bullock said an office will be set up at the college for students who are interested in learning more about obtaining housing.

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