Enrollment at St. Petersburg College continued its pattern of vigorous growth for the fall term, increasing to more than 32,000 students, an 11.2 percent increase over the same period last year.
The college never has served more students than it will this fall.
The increase in enrollment marks the second year in a row that SPC has recorded enrollment increases of more than 10 percent. Last year’s fall enrollment was 13.1 percent higher than the previous fall.
Patrick W. Rinard, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management, said fall enrollment was 32,132 unduplicated, credit-seeking students as of Monday, the first day of classes for the 2010-11 academic year. On the opening day of classes a year ago, enrollment was 28,897.
Rinard said there are numerous reasons contributing to one of the biggest expansions of student enrollment in SPC’s history.
“The sluggish economy is one contributor, certainly, as people return to school to improve their qualifications for employment,” he said. “Several new associate and bachelor’s degree programs are other factors.”
The high quality of instruction offered by SPC; the value of education that SPC offers (almost a third less than the state universities); and the convenience of SPC’s campus locations, which exist throughout Pinellas County, also are factors, he said.
Enrollment in associate degree programs increased 10.7 percent; bachelor’s degree enrollment went up 20.5 percent. A year ago, those increases were 12 percent and 24.7 percent respectively.
The most dramatic enrollment increases were recorded in some of the college’s newer bachelor’s programs, Business Administration. Sustainability Management and Biology.
Kay Burniston, Vice President of Baccalaureate Programs, said the figures demonstrate the enthusiasm that Pinellas County residents have for SPC’s bachelor’s degree programs. SPC began offering bachelor’s degrees in 2002.
“A decade ago, we believed strongly that there was great demand for a four-year college here in Pinellas County,” Burniston said. “I am pleased that our program offerings are meeting the community and industry needs.”
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