River Parishes Community College (RPCC) was named the fastest-growing public two-year college of its size in the nation. RPCC added 765 students to its ranks in the Fall of 2010 from its Fall 2009 total, which brought RPCC’s Fall 2010 enrollment to 2,566 students. These students represent a 42% increase in enrollment from the Fall 2009 to the Fall 2010 semesters.
Community College Week, the publication which released the list, analyzed enrollment data from the U.S. Department of Education for the Fall 2009 and 2010 semesters and ranked the enrollment of public two-year institutions which had between 2,500 and 4,999 students.
The Fall 2010 enrollment number includes River Parishes Community College-Technical Education Center (RPCC-TEC) students. RPCC and RPCC-TEC, formerly Louisiana Technical College- Ascension Campus, merged in 2010.
Dr. Bill Martin, Executive Vice-Chancellor at River Parishes Community College, said the growth in enrollment is not unprecedented. “In 2009, our enrollment was up 35% over our 2008 enrollment, and that was before the merger,” Dr. Martin said. 1,343 students attended RPCC in the Fall of 2008.
RPCC’s growth is evident in its graduating class. For the first time, the number of graduates surpassed the total enrollment of RPCC’s first student body. 158 students graduated in May of 2011, which marks the largest graduating class in RPCC’s eleven-year history, as well as the first graduating class to include both technical and general education graduates.
Although RPCC and RPCC-TEC are currently on two different campuses, efforts are in place to move both campuses to the same location. RPCC recently signed a purchase agreement for 43 acres of land in nearby Gonzales that will eventually provide space for technical and general education programming. Final purchase of the land is contingent on the developer’s instillation of the necessary infrastructure.