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LBWCC’s enrollment strong

Even with the first tuition increase in five years, Lurleen B. Wallace Community College’s spring 2010 enrollment is holding steady, LBWCC President Dr. Herb Riedel said Tuesday.

Riedel said there were 1,634 students enrolled for the semester, compared to 1,791 at the end of the fall 2009 semester and 1,642 at the end of the spring 2009 semester.

Students are also taking more credit-hours this spring than a year ago. In spring 2009, students took 16,921 credit-hours; this semester, students are taking 17,835 — an increase of 5.4 percent. Students took 19,259 credit-hours in the fall 2009 semester.

“Historically, the spring is always a little bit less than the fall, because we have some students whose plans change, or may drop out for one reason or another,” Riedel said. “So, we usually compare spring to spring, and as you can see, we’re ahead of our enrollment from last spring which is great for us.”

In addition, Riedel said the spring 2010 enrollment is unofficial and is expected to increase.

“We’re still in the ‘drop-add’ portion of the year, and some of the students who were purged from the list due to non-payment will eventually pay their bills and be counted in the enrollment again,” he said. “Even if we don’t add any more students, we’re still ahead of last year’s total credit-hours, and that’s what determines how much funding we get from the state.”

In October, the state board of education approved a $14-per-credit-hour tuition increase for all two-year colleges. Riedel said that averages out to an increase of about $156 for a full-time student.

Riedel said LBWCC’s “fill the gap” program has helped students deal with the tuition increase. Public donations of more than $8,000 were raised to help LBWCC students make up the difference “gap” between fall’s tuition and spring’s higher tuition rate.

“I know that $100-200 may not seem like much, but for some of our students that can be a real burden,” Riedel said. “This program has been well supported by the public and I’m sure it’s helped some students continue their education. It doesn’t pay for the entire tuition, but just the increase. It’s money the donors gave to the school, knowing it would go to help students immediately.”