The Fall 2012 semester marks the second-highest enrollment in the 129-year history of Blinn College, with 17,989 students taking more classes than ever before.
The school set a new milestone for contact hours—the number of hours students spend with their instructors with 3,678,960, a 3.88 percent leap over last year’s total. State funding is based on contact hours rather than enrollment numbers.
Blinn’s overall enrollment came within 167 students of matching the College’s all-time enrollment high of 18,156 students in Fall 2011.
“Blinn students are taking more credit hours than any prior semester, and that makes the time they spend in college more efficient,” said Vice President of Student Services Dennis Crowson. “One of our primary goals, even greater than enrollment growth, is seeing our students make substantial progress toward completing their core curriculum, and the increase in contact hours is a major indicator that we are helping students achieve that goal.”
Blinn’s Fall 2012 enrollment includes a 21.48 percent increase in distance education contact hours. The Bryan campus saw a slight enrollment decrease to 12,269 students, down 73 students from last Fall, but the campus’ contact hours increased 4.09 percent to 2,531,648. Brenham enrollment edged lower by 315 students to 2,495.
Blinn’s Schulenburg campus enrollment fell 34 students to 214, and Sealy saw a slight dip in enrollment to 181 students, down from 186.
Crowson said the College expected slightly smaller enrollment this Fall after increasing its standards for on-campus housing and financial aid, changes designed to ensure that every student on campus is either working toward completing a degree or earning college credit that will transfer to a four-year college or university.
The Fall 2012 enrollment figures come at a time when community colleges across the state are experiencing reduced enrollment, according to a preliminary report from the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC). Polling from the TACC recently indicated 19 of 24 reporting community colleges in the state experienced lower enrollment this Fall, with a total decrease of 2.7 percent. Blinn’s enrollment dipped 0.92 percent.
Prior to this year, Blinn had posted five consecutive years of record Fall enrollment. Since 2002, Blinn has seen its enrollment climb from 13,806, a 30.3 percent enrollment increase over that 10-year span, and has experienced a 28.3 percent enrollment surge since 2006.
Enrollment officials often cite a growth rate of 2 percent to 5 percent as healthy and sustainable for most colleges and universities. Blinn’s growth has averaged 4.6 percent each year over the past six years.