PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

February 19, 2013

Lamar-PA enrollment jump bodes well for funding

PORT ARTHUR — Enrollment at Lamar State College-Port Arthur has increased 7 percent from spring 2012, vice president Tom Neal reported.

Last year, 2,895 students were enrolled at LSC-PA. This year, that number has risen to 3,096.

Contact hours are also on the rise, from 705,772 hours last spring to 801,312 this semester, for a 13.5 percent increase. Neal said this is of particular significance to the junior college.

“You’re funded in contact hours not credit hours,” he said. “What the state does is, they calculate how long someone is engaged in the class. Community colleges, they look at contact hour of production even more than headcount.”

Neal attributed the rising enrollment to an increase in the school’s process technology programs.

“Our process tech program helps people to learn to go into various refineries and other manufacturing businesses — basically, how systems are used to manufacture,” he said. “That’s in about every kind of business now, so we’ve seen an increase in that.

Other programs that are up in credit hours include the online upward mobility program, commercial music, sound engineering and cosmetology.

There has also been an upswing in general academic studies, Neal said. It is not uncommon for students who are working to obtain a bachelor’s degree to take all the core coures that are directed toward a four-year degree program at LSC-PA and then transfer to a university once they have graduated with their associate’s degree.

Smaller classes are an attractive trait of LSC-PA, Neal said, as well as the cost of attendance.

“Someone is taking, say, 18 hours at a four-year university,” he said. “For 18 hours at ours, you can take the exact same classes — and it’s $2,000 a semester cheaper.”

Email: ecallahan@panews.com

Twitter: @ErinnPA

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