CPCC enrollment hits record level

last modified Sep 30, 2013 08:59 AM

More students are attending Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) now than ever before in its 50-year history.

CPCC’s enrollment, its overall headcount, has hit an all-time high for a single semester. The college’s headcount enrollment for the fall semester stands at 20,454.

CPCC’s growing number of students is apparent when looking at the college’s full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment. State funding to community colleges for instruction is based largely on FTE enrollment. CPCC’s FTE enrollment has increased 37 percent since 2006.

The college is coping with the tremendous growth by adding classes and increasing class sizes. However, many students have to prolong their time at CPCC because certain high-demand courses and labs fill quickly. College officials say more space, particularly for science labs and industrial training facilities, is needed to handle the growth.

North Carolina’s state standard for instructional space per FTE is 100-square-feet. CPCC currently has 58 square-feet of instructional space per FTE. CPCC’s Cato Campus, the college’s most crowded, has less than 50 square-feet per FTE.

Relief is in sight for CPCC and its students, if Mecklenburg voters approve a $210 million bond in November for renovations and new construction at the college. Over a five-year period, the $210 million will fund 10 renovation/construction projects at CPCC, adding 939,500 additional square-feet of instructional space.

“The bond referendum could not come at a better time for our students and college’s need to add new job-training programs,” said Dr. Tony Zeiss, CPCC president. “It’s hard to tell students, ‘We’re sorry, you can’t get the lab or class you need this semester to finish your program.’ At the same time, the college needs to develop more health care and advanced manufacturing programs, but there’s simply no space to add these programs.”

CPCC’s total headcount for the 2013-14 academic year will be tallied after the upcoming spring and summer semesters. CPCC’s total headcount for the 2012-13 year topped 58,850. Add on-site corporate training programs, ESL, GED, basic skills and other non-college credit classes, and CPCC serves approximately 70,000 persons annually.