PRCC enrollment spikes to new record

August 20, 2010 - 2:54pm -- braswell

POPLARVILLE - Pearl River Community College this week enrolled more than 5,400 students for the first time in school history, a 5.5 percent increase over this time last year. Classes started Monday and late registration wrapped up this week.Figures compiled through Aug. 20 show 5,469 students, including 4,577 full-time students enrolled at one of the three PRCC campuses, satellite locations or on_line."Pearl River Community College has experienced another record enrollment for the fall semester," said PRCC President William Lewis."We are obviously pleased with the confidence that our students have placed in our College. As we grow, our efforts continue to focus on providing high-quality higher educational experiences for our students. We take the confidence shown in us seriously as we seek to meet the individual needs of each and every student who enrolls with us."The college has 5,922 "full-time equivalent" students, up 8.3 percent from this time last year and also a record for PRCC. Full-time equivalent is the number the state uses to fund each of the 15 community colleges and is based on a full load of classes being 12 hours."Our faculty and staff are working very hard to serve our students to the best of their ability," said Dr. John Grant, vice president for instruction. "These record enrollments present extreme challenges. We''ve had to be very creative in scheduling."The increases are even more significant when enrollment in 2008 is considered. PRCC''s enrollment is up 20.2 percent, nearly 1,000 students, over two years ago.On the Poplarville campus, 50 more students are enrolled than a year ago bringing thetotal to 2,723."Our dormitories are at full capacity with a waiting list of about 125 students," said Dr. Adam Breerwood, dean of student services. "Early indications pointed to another record enrollment this year so this did not come as a surprise."We have planned a wide variety of activities this fall and with the large number of dormitory students on campus this should be a great semester. While the budget cuts have left many of our offices shorthanded, it has not dampened the spirit of our employees who continue to work around the clock to ensure all of these students an easy transition to Pearl River Community College."The increase at the Forrest County Center in Hattiesburg is 104 students, up to2,035; and at the Hancock Center in Waveland, the total is 293 students, up 43 from a year ago."We are pleased that we have another record enrollment," said Dr. Cecil Burt, Forrest County Center dean. "It is a milestone that we have surpassed 2,000 students on this campus."I know the economy is contributing to this, but I also feel that more and more students are discovering what a bargain community college really is. Our location, the wide range of courses we offer, and the flexible schedules which are available contribute to our growth as well. Let me say that while parking is still a challenge, the new parking lot is wonderful. Without it, we wouldn''t have been able to enroll as many as we have."Much of the increase is attributed to the poor economy, which has saddled the statewith a 10 percent unemployment rate."A lot of it is because they''re out of work and they need retraining, especially adultstudents," said Chuck Abadie, director of public relations. "A lot of it is driven by the economy."PRCC total fall enrollment2000 3,0052001 3,4482002 3,7432003 3,9232004 4,0562005 4,3102006 4,1042007 4,2742008 4,5502009 5,1842010 5,469Forrest County Center enrollment2000 6312001 6892002 1,0222003 1,1852004 1,2612005 1,3782006 1,4422007 1,5922008 1,6652009 1,9312010 2,035