Tacoma Community College (TCC) welcomed more than 5,200 students to our Tacoma and Gig Harbor campuses on Monday, Sept. 26. Enrollment is up from last year and the numbers appear to be the best start of enrollment in two years. New student enrollment is up by 30 percent. Enrollment is also holding steady with International, adult learners, and Running Start students. Nearly $1.6 million in financial aid has been distributed.
“Our students are ready to get back into the classroom, connect with each other and advance in their goals,” said Karl Smith, Vice President of Student Affairs. “We believe this will be a terrific year, as we adjust to a new normal of learning and college life.”
Smith said the upward tick of enrollment can be attributed to the college’s many efforts to improve the student experience from application to graduation. Efforts include our implementation of Guided Pathways (a national movement to help students efficiently complete their college programs and connect the dots between degrees and careers), required new student orientation and academic advising (two critical keys of student support services) and an early “alert” system that tells us when a student is in trouble – and how we can help them.
“It’s a great sign to see that more students are attending TCC,” Smith said. “As people have a greater sense of security and predictability with their futures, we hope our enrollment will continue to increase.”
TCC adapted to the diverse needs of students during the pandemic, and will continue to offer online, hybrid (in-person and online) and in-person classes. Clubs, athletics and events are underway at TCC, with an in-person college fair being held on Sept. 28, as well as multiple welcome back events and ongoing club activities and TCC Athletics games, including soccer and baseball.
The health and safety of our community is critical. Masks are recommended, but not required, and are widely available throughout the campuses. Students must self-attest their Covid-19 vaccination status to attend an in-person and/or hybrid class. Tests also are available. TCC will continue to track cases and conduct close contact tracing.
With the positive enrollment numbers, TCC will continue to focus on supporting students’ ongoing success in college. Multiple strategies are underway to retain students, especially students of color, and part-time and adult students. We need to keep those students in college, Smith said, and TCC is offering a holistic approach of student services to support them.
“College is an invaluable investment,” Smith said. “Earning a college degree or high school credential can mean tens of thousands of more income per year than those who do not have a degree or diploma. TCC can prepare students to succeed in the workforce or transfer to a university.”