Survey says: West Hills College continues to outpace other colleges in student growth

From West Hills College

A survey just released shows that enrollment increases at West Hills College Coalinga and West Hills College Lemoore were higher than any other Central Valley community college in California.

West Hills College Coalinga grew from 2,572 students in 2012 to 3,055 in 2013, an increase of 18.8 percent. At West Hills College Lemoore, the number of students rose from 3,752 to 4,102 over the same 12-month period.

The study, compiled by Community College Week, a national magazine for two-year colleges published in Fairfax, Va., based its data on a U.S. Department of Education study which compared the academic years ending in 2012 and 2013, the latest years for which figures have been compared.

College officials attribute the growth to the early adoption of a priority registration program which has since become mandatory in California. Students must complete an education plan which maps out a pathway to transfer in order to qualify for priority registration. This moves them to the front of the line in registering for subsequent classes, ensuring they get through the first two years of college in timely fashion.

West Hills upped the ante in 2014, creating a revolutionary program called Reg365, which lets students sign up for classes up to a year in advance. This allows students to make steady progress through courses that have prerequisites.

“Students need to have an educational plan and must maintain a point average in order to use Reg365 to their advantage,” said WHCCD Registrar Keith Stearns. “The program has been extremely popular at our two colleges. This spring, for example, more than 70 percent of the enrollments were by students who signed up in April 2014, nearly a year before the current semester began.”

The introduction of Reg365 in 2014 “enabled the district to meet enrollment projection targets nearly seven months prior to the end of the current academic year,” said Stu Van Horn, vice chancellor of educational services and workforce development. 

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