Student enrollment at Pima Community College’s six campuses fell ten percent this semester compared to spring 2013, so the college convened an internal task force to address enrollment and retention.
Zelema Harris, PCC'S provost, said she attributes the drop in the number of students to the better economic climate.
“When the economy is doing well, we lose enrollment... And generally when there is a slump in the economy people come to us, to the community college, so they can get a job," Harris explained.
But Harris also said recent troubles within the community college are a contributing factor to the drop in enrollment.
The Higher Learning Commission, Pima’s accrediting agency, placed the college on probation last year, giving it two years to address a number of shortcomings, primarily in the area of financial accountability. If the college is unsuccessful, it could lose its accreditation.
“While we’ve tried to make a concerted effort to communicate…I think there are still people wondering, 'Are you accredited?' And I always say we are, it did not affect the quality of our programs," she said.
By March, Pima will hire an outside consultant to help it devise a comprehensive plan to boost student numbers, Harris said.