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Enrollment in Context

Enrollment in Context

As you know, the number of learners attending Pima has declined since the onset of the pandemic. Many of our students are members of groups hit hard by Covid: women, communities of color, and workers in sectors of the economy impacted adversely by the pandemic. For these students – facing simultaneous medical, family, housing, and job challenges – going to school has not been a possibility.

Pima’s enrollment situation is not unique among the nation’s community colleges. Like other majority-minority community colleges, Pima has lost enrollment among Communities of Color, particularly Latinx males. It also should be noted that since 2015, Pima County has had either the lowest or second-lowest percentage of high school graduates of all the state’s counties. In 2019, Pima County’s percentage of 74.7 was the lowest in the state, according to the Pima County School Superintendent.

Through responsible stewardship of public funds and effective foresight planning, the College has been able to mitigate the impact of lower enrollment on our budget. Like many organizations, Pima’s operating budget is driven primarily by personnel costs, which have been increasing in recent years, while the number of students we serve has been decreasing. As such, our costs per student have grown dramatically and the proportion of the College's costs that are funded by taxpayers has also increased markedly. We will continue to monitor enrollment as part of Fiscal Year 2023 budget development.

The good news for Pima is that we have the planning, infrastructure, curriculum and, perhaps most importantly, the mindset, to address our challenges, change the trajectory of our enrollment and better serve an increasing number of students throughout the 2020s.

Strategic Enrollment Management Plan (SEMP)

Ongoing enrollment and student success efforts are driven by the short-term Strategic Enrollment Management Plan (SEMP). The 2021-2022 SEMP is a one-year, institutional road map to identify, recruit, enroll, retain, and graduate students. The plan has been designed collaboratively, with numerous units providing insights. It is goal-oriented, actionable, and measurable. Enrollment strategies and activities include:

  • Engaging students that stopped attending PCC
  • Addressing student financial barriers to enrollment
  • Marketing and outreach to students and our community
  • Expanding academic offerings
  • Identify and creating other opportunities for enrollment

We made a significant stride in re-engaging learners when the Governing Board unanimously approved forgiving the unpaid balances of over 4,500 PCC students affected by the pandemic with a collective total of over $2.7 million of debt. The forgiveness program offers important financial relief to those who’ve faced hardship due to the pandemic and allows us to re-engage with students who may have left PCC for financial reasons but would still like to continue their educational journey.

Looking ahead, a longer-term SEMP (2021-2025) is in draft form and will continue the College’s enrollment recovery efforts. The 2021-2025 SEMP will closely align to the College Strategic Plan to support the Achieve 60 Pima County goals of postsecondary credential attainment for the populations we serve.

Infrastructure

We are proceeding with design and construction of new or renovated learning spaces throughout the College.

Center of Excellence in Applied Technology (Downtown Campus)

  • Automotive Technology and Innovation Center: Open June 2021
  • Advanced Manufacturing Building: July 2022 completion
  • Renovation of the Science/Technology Building: May 2023 completion

Center of Excellence in Health Professions (West Campus)

  • Renovations in design phase

Center of Excellence in Information Technology/Cybersecurity (East Campus)

  • Ribbon-cutting in September 2021

Center of Excellence in Public Safety (East Campus and 29th Street Center)

  • October 2023 completion

Centers of Excellence in Arts (West Campus)

  • Renovations in design phase

Hospitality Leadership (Desert Vista Campus)

  • Renovations in design phase

Aviation Technology Center Expansion

  • March 2022 completion

Curriculum

To be sure, our Centers of Excellence and other learning spaces are impressive structures, but their true value lies in the teaching and learning that goes on within their walls.

We have expanded the ways we deliver learning, taking in consideration the expectations of our learners. As of Sept. 21, 37 percent of our Fall classes are in-person or hybrid, 60 percent are online or virtual, and 3 percent are self-directed.

In our Automotive Technology and Innovation Center, we can quadruple the number of students we train to diagnose and service gasoline-powered, light-diesel, electric, and eventually autonomous vehicles.

The expansion of our Aviation Technology Center will double our student capacity in the program and will put in place a second large commercial jet hangar along with additional labs and classrooms.

Mindset

Our revitalized student services model exemplifies a customer-centric approach to potential and current students taking hold throughout the College. Driven by student feedback, our new student services model offers students the flexibility to receive in-person or virtual services based on their preferences. In addition, we offer 24-hour student support via phone, email and chatbot.

I encourage everyone to visit the academic advising webpage to learn more. The reality is that offering the best customer service is every employee’s responsibility. Learners coming to us needing assistance do not care which unit of the College the employee belongs to. When they interact with any Pima employee, they expect to be helped, as they should. It’s everyone’s job to meet, and hopefully, exceed, those expectations.


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