Kingsborough Community College is booming this year, as a record high number of students pad the school’s budget and spur program growth.
While all of the city’s other community colleges were forced to roll back application deadline dates for the current Fall semester, Kingsborough Community College remained the only two-year public higher education institution that accepted all eligible students. The result was a massive 16 percent leap in enrollment, to a teeming 17,821 registered students.
The increased numbers haven’t stressed the system, according to Thomas Friebel, Dean of Enrollment Management at KBCC. Instead it’s led to some long-awaited improvements.
“The increase in students has had a positive impact on the budget,” Friebel says. “The college has initiated some high-priority projects and increased the number of faculty and staff.”
While class sizes have grown, he notes, the school has been more than able to accommodate growth. The IT office has increased the number of labs, the number of computers in the labs, the number of available laptops, and has also introduced application streaming. They’ve avoided any student-increase related layoffs, Friebel says.
Attendance at the city’s community colleges have exploded across the board this year, as the economic climate pressures un- and under-employed workers to reconsider their career paths.
But while many schools were unable to handle the sharp up-tick in growth, Kingsborough Community College had been planning to reach these numbers for years.
“In the past, we have actually implemented advertising and marketing campaigns to get to numbers like we are experiencing,” Friebel says.
But while programs are benefiting, the swell in students has hurt the school’s scholarship reserves. Kingsborough resorted to creative ploys to raise funds for students in need, including a walkathon earlier this month that raised more than $15,000 for student aid.
As deadlines approach for the Spring semester, many schools are bracing to see if they’ll have to scale back enrollment once again. So far, Kingsborough has no plans for a cutoff, but is watching the situation closely. At the present time, there is no set deadline for Spring applications as student registration just began. A college enrollment committee meets on a weekly basis to assess the situation for Spring 2010.