BPCC one of fastest growing colleges in nation, again

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For the third consecutive year, Bossier Parish Community College ranks among the top five fastest growing community colleges in the nation in its category.

BPCC is the only college of any size to place in the top five all three years. The ranking, published by Community College Week, is based on growth between Fall 2011 and Fall 2012. The college achieved an all-time record enrollment of 8512 in Fall 2013, an indication the college’s rapid growth is not slowing down.

“Growth indicates responsiveness to market demands,” said BPCC Chancellor Dr. Jim Henderson. “We have purposefully created programs aligned with needs of employers and employment opportunities for our students in our regional economy.”

Recently, Governor Bobby Jindal announced a funding increase of $141.5 million for higher education institutions for the next fiscal year. According to a press release issued by the governor’s office, “the funding hike represents a 6.66 percent increase over the budget for the current fiscal year. This funding includes a new higher education workforce incentive initiative of $40 million that will better prepare Louisiana students to compete in the new global economy.”

Henderson says BPCC could not be more excited at Governor Jindal’s announcement of the WISE plan. “Targeting resources to achieve outcomes in priority economic sectors will incent the entire higher education enterprise towards market responsiveness. Because that is already the prevailing culture at BPCC, we will be well-positioned to deliver a significant return on this new investment.”

The announcement comes at a critical time for BPCC. The college is the lowest funded college in the state according to the Board of Regents funding formula for higher education. The formula is based in part on performance and is designed to create incentives for colleges to respond to market forces. BPCC is currently funded at 39% of the funding formula, by far the lowest in the state. The median implementation rate is 54.51%.

“Over the past few years, as the market has spoken, the bureaucracy in Baton Rouge has turned a deaf ear,” adds Henderson. “If we were funded at just the average level of similar colleges over the past three years, more than $10 million would have been available for program growth and service delivery. That we have been able to offer a high quality product to our consumers as the lowest funded college in the state is a testament to the dedication and innovative spirit of BPCC’s faculty and staff.”

For the college rankings, visit http://www.ccweek.com/news/articlefiles/3885-CCW%20021714-AllPages.pdf.