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Big Bend Community College enrollment down; professor leaves

Staff Writer | September 16, 2021 1:05 AM

MOSES LAKE — The unexpected resignation of a Big Bend Community College professor has forced the school to cancel a program this fall and prompt a hunt for a replacement.

BBCC Communications Director Matt Killebrew said that because of privacy concerns, he could not release the name of the instructor, the reasons the instructor resigned, or the program affected.

“The person resigned and the reasons are personal, and working expeditiously to replace that employee,” he said.

Killebrew also said that with classes set to start, BBCC has seen a 12.5% decline in the number of students registered for the fall. Enrollment is “not as high as we would like,” he said.

In 2020, a week before school started, BBCC reported an enrollment of 2,006 students. This year, the college reported an enrollment of only 1,755 students.

“All college and junior college enrollments are down statewide,” he said.

Killebrew said the biggest decline is among BBCC arts and sciences students who are working on a two-year degree and seeking to transfer to a four-year university. This fall, so far, only 665 students have enrolled, compared with 755 in 2020.

In vocational programs, Killebrew said the number has declined by only 16 students, to 400, this year.

The greatest decline has been among adults pursuing GEDs and high school equivalency diplomas, which fell to 30 this fall from 80 students in 2020.

Killebrew said BBCC is trying to reach out to those students at its learning centers in Mattawa, Othello and Quincy in hope that will boost enrollment.

He also said there is significant federal assistance, up to $6,000, for anyone looking to come back to school to finish a degree, and that because of COVID-19, BBCC has developed a robust online education program that gives the school the ability to reach students wherever they may be.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.

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