Glendale Community College enrollment off 11% since 2004
Jul 13, 2008
Republic, The (Phoenix, AZ)
- July 13, 2008
Watters, The Arizona Republic
enrollment has shrunk, although it's not alone, nor the biggest decliner among
the 10 colleges
in the Maricopa Community
Overall, the district projects a 3 percent decline between spring 2007 and
College saw substantial increases in students, up 9 percent from
the prior year.
Projections indicate a 7 percent decline at Phoenix
As the economy goes down, enrollment in higher education typically goes up as
people upgrade skills to compete.
Officials speculate that maxim could kick in this fall, as students continue to
Meanwhile, the reasons for the slide are tough to peg. One can't survey students
who aren't showing up.
GCC officials have had a few years to theorize, as its enrollment has fallen
four straight years.
After years of double-digit growth, GCC's student head count fell 11 percent
between spring 2004 and spring 2007, from 19,734 students to 17,533.
New immigration laws, stiffer competition and a shift toward Internet courses
are likely among the reasons.
, which has been in
Glendale since 1965, now faces 13 higher-education competitors
in the region.
Competition also comes from beyond the West Valley with the rise of online
schools. GCC's biggest decline is in the number of part-time evening students.
These students, often older and working, may be drawn to the convenience of
doing course work from a home computer, GCC spokeswoman Trish Vogel said.
Also playing into the decline could be the passage of immigration measures.
Proposition 300 required schools to charge out-of-state tuition prices to
students who couldn't provide immigration documents.
On its heels, lawmakers passed an employer-sanctions law that penalizes
companies that hire undocumented workers.
"It's possible that the current environment is frightening Latinos, legal and
illegal, from enrolling," said Tom Gariepy, a district spokesman.
Whatever the causes, GCC has tightened its belt in some areas as it works to
GCC lost $600,000 in operating money for the 2008-09 school year because of
declining enrollment, as well as other factors that enter complex funding
In recent years, belt tightening has meant fewer adjunct faculty and tighter
has eliminated some certificates, tweaking offerings to what business leaders
and others say they need.
And the college
is heavily investing in its main campus at 59th and Olive avenues and the Happy
Valley Road satellite. GCC is in the midst of a $105 million capital-improvement
The Maricopa Community
District's enrollment declined a projected 3 percent between spring 2007 and
* Chandler-Gilbert: Up 9 percent.
* Estrella Mountain, Paradise Valley, Rio Salado and Scottsdale: Less than a 1
percent shift up or down.
: 2 percent down.
* South Mountain: 2 percent down.
* Gateway: 5 percent down.
* Mesa: 6 percent down.
* Phoenix: 7 percent down.
Section: VALLEY & State
Dateline: GLENDALE , AZ
Record Number: pho106954700