College officials believe enrollment, credit hours will be similar to last fall

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FARMINGTON – San Juan College student enrollment and credit hours are showing a decline for the fall semester, but college officials believe the figures will increase by the end of the semester.

Ron Jernigan, senior director of institutional research, presented the information to the college board members during a work session Tuesday night.

Jernigan said credit hours were down 1.5 percent, and the student count was down 9.3 percent for the fall 2015 semester as of Sept. 11, the fall census date.

The figures do not include student enrollment and credit hours for classes started after Sept. 11.

Students registered for 57,921 credit hours this semester, down 898 hours from the fall 2014 count of 58,819 credit hours.

The student count for the current semester is 7,062 students, down 724 students from the fall 2014 count of 7,786.

Jon Betz, senior director of enrollment management, said the census figures are largely irrelevant.

“It doesn’t mean anything,” Betz said.

Betz said the census information is submitted to the state to estimate future funding.

Based on historical data, he said the enrollment and number of credit hours will increase by the end of the semester and be similar to the final fall 2014 figures of 9,906 students and 69,291 credit hours.

“I think, at the end of this term, I think we are going to be pretty close to what we were last year,” Betz said.

Jernigan said students are taking more credit hours with the average number of credit hours taken per student increasing from 7.6 credit hours per student for the 2014 fall semester to 8.2 credit hours per student this semester.

Barbara Ake, the college's vice president for learning, said she was happy to see students taking more credit hours.

“They are much more apt to be successful in their completion of certificate or degree if they take as full a load as they can handle,” Ake said.

Jernigan said online enrollment has increased 5.3 percent, and 26.3 percent of all credit hours at census were online courses.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

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