After a summer when enrollment numbers were down significantly, fall enrollment numbers for Pratt Community College are looking up.
Early enrollment information was presented to the PCC Board of Trustees at their meeting Monday night.
Fall enrollment numbers are up 3 percent over the same time last year. Residence hall occupancy rate is at 82 percent and that is up 14 percent from the same time last year, PCC Retiring President William Wojciechowski said.
"The administration is optimistic that we have turned a corner on what may have been falling enrollment," Wojciechowski said.
Part of the enrollment increase was attributed to following the recommendations of an enrollment management consultant the college retained early in the year when it was apparent enrollment numbers would be down.
The staff was trained according to the consultant's recommendations, resulting in a better way to do business, Wojciechowski said.
Lisa Miller, vice president for student enrollment, said indications were that potential summer school students were lured away for full time jobs. Some of those students did enroll in EDUKAN on-line courses and the college will get some dollars from those students.
The economy is improving and that also impacted summer enrollments. The drop in summer enrollment is not just at PCC.
"We noticed other schools in the state are experiencing the same situation," Wojciechowski said.
Although the college had low enrollment numbers, they were still able to end the fiscal year on a positive financial note, Wojciechowski said.
When the 2012-2013 budget was set and the state funding came through, it looked like the college would have a slight deficit at the end of the year. But with conservative spending the college was able to end the year in the plus column.
The surplus will go into the college cash reserve that is lower than the administration would like to see.
Presently, the college has enough reserves to run the college for 30 days. The recommended reserve is between 90 to 120 days, Wojciechowski said.
Ideally, the college would like to end the year with a $50,000 positive balance to go into the cash reserve. Cash reserve funds are used to help make up the gap between the time the college has to make certain payments and the time when they receive state funding. Cash reserve is also available to cover emergencies like repairing storm damage.
The college also received good news when the automotive technology program was recertified for another six years.
The National Automotive Technical Foundation recognized the excellence of the program. This recognition and recertification affirms the quality of the master technician instructors and that the facilities and equipment are up to date for industry standards.
In other Board matters:
• Board member Michele Hamm became the new Trustee Chair and member Mike Koler became the Trustee Vice Chair.
• The last elements of a contract package for the new president are being completed and an offer to one of the two final candidates is expected by the end of the week.
• A public hearing on the proposed $14.4 million PCC budget for 201-2014 will be at 7 p.m. on Monday Aug. 5 in the Riney Student Center. This will precede the regular monthly meeting that will start immediately after the budget hearing. The budget is just slightly higher than the 2012-2013 budget because of increases in health insurance, property insurance and utility costs. The college changed their health insurance carrier resulting in a six percent increase over 2012-2013. If they had stayed with the same carrier they would have had a 14 percent increase over the previous year.
• The Pratt Higher Education Association that represents the PCC faculty has agreed to a three-year contract.