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NCCC sees big surge in full-time students

The spike in enrollment this fall at Niagara County Community College may be the biggest jump since the early years of the institution, the college's trustees were told Wednesday.

The number of full-time equivalent students is up 17 percent over last fall, said Bassam M. Deeb, vice president of student services.

The total number of students taking classes this semester is 6,188, up about 13 percent compared to last fall, Deeb said. The total number of students taking a full course load is 4,668, up about 19 percent.

Some members of the audience during the board meeting said they could not recall any other time where the number of enrolled students increased at this rate.

"Probably not since the early years of the college," faculty union President Joseph Colosi said. The college was founded in 1962.

The full-time equivalent figure is the most important because that number is used to determine state aid, Deeb said.

The total number of first-time students this semester is 2,905, an increase of nearly 18 percent, according to figures provided by the college.

The college also processed 7,771 applications, a rise of nearly 33 percent.

This year also saw a record number of applications accepted by the State University of New York schools, as well as Erie Community College.

Earlier this year, the National Association for College Admission Counseling said 71 percent of 658 high schools it surveyed reported an increase in the number of students foregoing their "dream schools" in favor of more affordable options.

Also Wednesday, the board:

* Approved a 3 percent raise for administrators. Before the raise can take effect, it faces approval by the Niagara County Legislature.

The raise would bring salaries up to the median level within the SUNY system, said Trustee Kevin C. Schuler.

* Voted down a proposal to make the college a tobacco-free zone starting Sept. 1, 2010. The vote was 5-3, but failed because six votes are needed for a majority. Trustee William Ross was absent from the meeting, and a student trustee has not yet been named for the semester.

Trustees said they plan to bring the issue back up for a vote next month.

e-mail: abesecker@buffnews.com

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