Texarkana College is staying open late to offer students greater access to advising and financial aid resources. The Office of Enrollment Services is open until 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 4 p.m. on Fridays. Trustees learned today that students are taking advantage of this enrollment opportunity because it provides a convenient option for them to stop by after work or arrange for childcare.
Dr. Donna McDaniel, VP of Instruction, said fall enrollment is in full swing and classes begin August 23. Students are encouraged to come in now to plan their course schedule and avoid long wait times to talk to an advisor.
“The closer it gets to the first day of class, the busier the TC Enrollment Services office gets,” McDaniel said. “We want to ensure every student has access to an advisor and to the resources they need to get started and to complete. Extended hours make it possible for more students to be served every day—but it’s important for students to plan ahead, too. We encourage students to make appointments and keep their goal of earning a college credential a priority. Completion is our goal for each student‑that’s why TC leads the state in this area.”
Data from a 2016 Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board study shows 39.2 percent of TC students completed a degree or certificate within four years compared to the state average of 24.6 percent for all state community colleges and 33.91 percent for state universities. Of all community college’s in Texas, TC’s completion rates are the highest.
“TC’s Enrollment Services team provides students with clear pathways within their degree programs so they can earn credit faster and complete in a shorter time frame,” McDaniel said. “The pathways model of advisement has helped hundreds of students at TC achieve their dream of a earning a higher education degree or credential that leads to better wages and more secure jobs.”
Enrollment Services specialists are available to help students apply for financial aid, complete applications for admission, and provide guidance on course selection. Students are encouraged to call ahead and make an appointment with a specialist. However, students may drop by TC anytime during business hours and be seen the same day by an advisor. Information about fall registration is available at www.texarkanacollege.edu/fall2017, and students may call 903-823-3012 to make an appointment with an advisor.
Trustees also heard a report on current marketing and advertising efforts to boost awareness of TC’s programs and services. Suzy Irwin, Director of Institutional Advancement, along with Traci Pitman, Design and Creative Services Coordinator, presented a marketing plan derived from data collected from student and community focus groups and media usage surveys completed in the past year.
“When asked what is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of TC, both student and community stakeholders replied with, ‘A Great Place to Start or Start Over!’” said Irwin. “The overwhelming response took us back to basics as we began searching for a fresh marketing approach.”
Pitman said TC’s demographics have evolved over the years and its students respond differently to messaging than they have in the past. The platforms people use to access information have changed dramatically, and students are now avid consumers of digital and social media—especially from their mobile devices.
“Our survey and focus group data showed that students respond best to digital advertisements with short, concise messaging presented to them with greater frequency,” said Pitman. “We’ve optimized our ad campaigns to reflect this and have incorporated the universal ‘play’ icon into our digital, print and outdoor marketing materials. We’re all accustomed to clicking this symbol when we want to start something, so we’re using it as a call to action—a visual way to represent ‘Start or Start Over.’”
In other business, Trustees reviewed the second draft of the 2017-2018 proposed budget. A report by Kim Jones, VP of Finance and CFO, showed a near break-even budget with no allowance for funds to address needed facility repairs and renovations.
“There’s a long list of needed improvements and repairs all around our campus without available funds to address these needs,” Jones said. “Some of the repairs will become necessary within the next fiscal year, and there’s no room to add them to this bare bones budget.”
Trustees will review the proposed second draft of the budget and vote on final approval at the August 2017 meeting.