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Wake County school system's growth falls 910 students short of projections

Instead of 1,000 students above projection, it turns out the Wake County school system is 910 students below projection this school year.

School communications officials say this year's official enrollment, based off the 20th day of classes last week, is 149,508 students. That's a net gain of 2,821 students from last year's total of 146,687 students.

A gain of more than 2,800 kids is nothing to sneeze about. But keep in mind the official enrollment projection, used in the budget presented to the county, called for 150,418 students this year.

Wake County school system has 149,528 students so far this school year

Is it possible that the Wake County school system might not grow as fact as projected this year?

School officials reported today they had 149,528 students on Monday, up 2,841 students from last year's official enrollment. Schools get teachers based on enrollment so Wake will use Monday's total — the 10th day of classes — to decide whether to transfer teachers between schools.

Before the school year started, school officials said that Wake could easily exceed the projected enrollment of 150,418 students by 1,000 or more students.

SEE UPDATE AT END OF POST

Wake County school system has 147,539 students so far this school year

The Wake County school system had 147,539 students in class on Tuesday, which school officials say shows the district is on pace to meet or exceed its projected enrollment for this year.

Tuesday's enrollment was 5,161 more students than the 142,378 kids who were in class on day two in the 2011-12 school year. Last year, Wake went on to add 4,309 more students by day 20, which is used to record the official enrollment for the school year.

School officials expect that Wake will exceed its projected enrollment of 150,418 students this school year. If Wake matches last year's growth between day 2 and day 20, Wake could grow by more than 5,000 student this year.

The crowd of people registering at Central Office in Cary has gotten even larger this week.

Wake's minority enrollment continues to rise

The percentage of minority students in the Wake County school system increased this year, continuing the trend of the state's largest school system becoming a majority minority district.

Recently released figures show that minority students now account for 50.7 percent of Wake's 146,689 students, up from 50.5 percent last year. White students now account for 49.3 percent of the enrollment, the second year in a row they've been in the minority.

The percentage of minority students has sharply increased in Wake over the past 20 years. In the 1991-92 school year, minority students accounted for 30.7 percent of the enrollment.

Should UNC limit enrollment?

Should UNC limit enrollment? Reduce it, even?

Gasp!

This isn't the sort of idea that has ever gotten much serious consideration in North Carolina, a state that prides itself on providing an affordable and accessible education to its citizens.

But these woeful economic times are changing the minds of decision-makers. In today's paper, a story about why this may not be the worst time for the state to consider scaling back enrollment.

One note: There's an error in the story that will be corrected. There are 58 community college campuses in North Carolina, not 56.

UNC nursing school to lower enrollment to save $$$

 The nursing school at UNC-Chapel Hill is cutting enrollment 25 percent to save money.

That means the school will admit 152 students next year, down from 208.

The enrollment reduction starts with students admitted for the summer semester that starts in May.

The move is a reaction to ongoing budget pressures, including a 5 percent permanent cut instituted by the university in January and additional cuts expected to reach as high as 15 percent.

The move is a rare, tangible example of how the ongoing budget pressures are restricting access to public higher education in North Carolina. UNC system campuses generally try not to restrict access to their programs.

“We are committed to offering high-quality, rigorous and safe programs for entry into nursing practice at the baccalaureate and advanced practice levels,” said School of Nursing Dean Kristen M. Swanson. “The budget challenges have left us little alternative but to reduce the number of students we enroll.”

The enrollment reductions must be implemented now because postponing them until January 2012 would not allow adequate savings to meet budget requirements, according to a news release. The school continues to explore additional means to absorb the anticipated budget cuts.

School of Nursing students have two options for preparation to enter into practice as a registered nurse (RN): the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) six-semester program or the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) four-semester program for applicants with a baccalaureate or higher degree in another field of study. Together, the BSN and ABSN programs have been graduating approximately 200 new nurses each year.

The projected need for nurses continues to grow because of health-care reform, the health-care needs of the aging Baby Boomer generation and an aging nursing workforce.

“Given the nursing shortage it is truly unfortunate to find ourselves reducing enrollments to the levels we realized 10 years ago,” Swanson said. “However, we cannot sacrifice the quality or safety of nursing education, so our difficult choice was to reduce the number of students.”

Wake school system's market share of students drops

The Wake County school system's market share of school-age children in the county shrunk this past school year to 82.9 percent.

Newly figures released indicate that for the 2009-10 school year, the school system had 139,599 of the county's estimated 168,384 students. This 82.9 percent figure is down from 83.3 percent in 2008-09.

You can calculate the market share because new statewide home school figures were released today. The number of registered home schools has doubled statewide in the past decade to 43,316.

Tweaking enrollment at NCCU

For much of the decade, N.C. Central University flung its doors wide open, welcoming scores of new students - prompted by a UNC system mandate to increase enrollment.

Problem was, those students weren't all ready for college. Plenty dropped out, leaving NCCU with a stain on its graduation rate data. From 2004 to 2008, just 18 percent of NCCU students graduated within four years. About 38 percent managed in five years, and about half did it in six years.

Now, university leaders are re-making the undergraduate academic experience, shifting from the enrollment model from quantity to quality. They're slowing the enrollment growth, a move necessary in part because the campus infrastructure can't withstand continued expansion, and looking for ways to admit better students.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro Opening of School Report

As noted in today's Chapel Hill News, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools released their annual Opening of Schools Report last Thursday.

Highlights of the report include decreased enrollment, more Asian students than ever, bigger classrooms and fewer new hires. There's also information on budgets, test scores, facility maintenance and more.

To read the full report, click on the document linked to at the bottom of this post and download the PDF.

Wake schools' student market share drops

The school district's market share dipped to 83.3 percent of the school age children in the county.

New state figures released today show that there were 3,771 home schools registered in Wake this past school year with an estimated enrollment of 7,571 students. In 2007-08, there were 3,548 registered home schools in Wake with an estimated enrollment of 7,059 students.

The new home-school data makes it possible to calculate Wake's new market share.

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