The future is looking brighter for Fort Lewis College, which saw its largest on-campus enrollment increase in a decade.
According to Mitch Davis, FLCs public affairs officer, as of census day the day the college finalizes its official enrollment numbers for the fall semester 88 more students are enrolled in FLC compared with last year, with on-campus enrollment up 2.35 percent in 2012, from 3,748 to 3,836, surpassing both the fiscal year 2012-13 operating budget and enrollment goals as outlined in the colleges recently approved Strategic Plan.
Given declines in state funding for public colleges, Davis said: Enrollment numbers become more important. The more money we have, the more tuition dollars we have.
Housing is not a concern yet, Davis said. In years past, weve held one of our residence halls empty for over a year. When large number of students or conferences come in, weve put them in there, but this year, were using it as a residence hall, and its halfway filled up, Davis said.
One year doesnt make a trend, but he said that if enrollment figures continue to increase at this years rate, wed run into a situation where were fully booked up. And then wed have to make tough choices. Do we continue to require all freshman to live on campus? Still, that wouldnt be a horrible situation to be in.
Davis said to ensure the student bodys educational experience isnt adversely affected by its swelling numbers, in the short term, were increasing our classes and also, if we need to, increasing the number of students in our classes.
But we need to do that carefully. One of the things we pride ourselves on is personal attention to students. We dont want any 600-person auditoriums at FLC, Davis said. If FLC continued to see enrollment increases of this size, it would consider hiring more professors, he added.
Davis attributed FLCs increased enrollment to its increased expenditure on marketing, which he estimated was in the low six-figures.
Weve seen a large increase in out-of-state students this year, and thats directly attributable to our nationwide marketing efforts, he said.
Davis said that ethnically, the two biggest changes from 2010 were in on-campus Hispanic enrollment, which jumped by 56 students, and Native American enrollment, which jumped by 23.
In a news release, FLC President Dene Kay Thomas said FLCs efforts at increasing enrollment were reaping dividends, and that FLC would continue to work for fiscally responsible growth that maintains our selective admission standard and the quality of our student body.