LAFAYETTE — Booming enrollment at South Louisiana Community College created 12 new teaching jobs at the college this semester, Chancellor Phyllis Dupuis said Monday.
“We’re about 200 students above last fall, and that was as of Friday,” Dupuis said.
Last fall’s count was 4,218 students, with 990 of them first-time freshmen, according to Louisiana Board of Regents data.
The 12 new jobs included adjuncts and two full-time instructors in chemistry and Spanish, Dupuis said.
Students may continue to enroll in courses this week, so there may be a need to open additional courses, she said.
Economics and ease played a factor in students’ choice of SLCC, said some who began classes there Monday.
Simone Touchet, 19, began her first day of college as a general studies major.
“I thought it was more cost-effective to come here, especially when I didn’t know what I wanted to major in,” said Touchet, 19.
She has two years to figure that out. She plans to transfer to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a major — possibly in art or photography.
Parking isn’t a hassle on campus and one-on-one time with professors is common at SLCC, said Autumne Benoit, 23.
The tuition was also a draw.
Benoit is enrolled in 18 hours this semester. At ULL, the classes would cost her $2,462 compared with $1,301 at SLCC.
“They offer what I need — the basics — at a lower price,” she said.
Like Touchet, she plans to transfer to ULL to complete her degree.
With its enrollment growing, SLCC is also expanding its programs.
Dupuis said she’s hopeful for a spring semester timeline for students to begin registering for the college’s associate program in midwifery. The program is the only midwifery training program in the state and was approved by the Board of Regents last year.
The college is also exploring another option for students — a registered nurse associate degree program, Dupuis said.
“Hopefully, we’ll have that (RN) program in time for next fall,” she said.
Dupuis is also the regional director of the Acadiana Technical College and its area campuses, which is charting increased interest, as well, she said.
At the Acadiana Technical College’s Lafayette campus there are waiting lists for eight programs: information technology, aviation maintenance, air conditioning and refrigeration, electrician, clinical lab technician, barbering and styling, machine tool technology and pharmacy technician.
“We had some programs full before Aug. 1,” Dupuis said.
The waiting lists are unprecedented and linked to workforce demands, she said.
“There are still jobs out there, and those jobs require specific skills,” Dupuis said. “We’ve also seen people coming in for more training or to get re-skilled.”
Dupuis said those students on waiting lists have been referred to other local Acadiana Technical College campuses in Abbeville, Crowley, New Iberia, Opelousas, St. Martinville and Ville Platte.
It’s not as easy to find technical program instructors when practitioners are working in their chosen fields drawing larger paychecks, she said.
Classes also began Monday at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where officials have said a record freshmen enrollment of more than 3,000 was expected.
Last fall, 2,980 first-time freshmen were part of the total 16,763 enrollment, according to Board of Regents data.