By Dylan Villalon
Total headcount enrollment for the district rose from 67,774 in fall 2019 to 69,083 in fall 2020, according to preliminary census data from the district.
The numbers illustrate a 12.2% increase in enrollment from fall 2018 when 60,393 students enrolled.
Dr. Thomas Cleary, vice chancellor of planning, performance, accreditation and information systems, said this is the first time enrollment has increased for two consecutive years in more than a decade.
The National Students Clearing House Research Center indicates a 9.4% decrease in enrollment in two-year colleges across the nation.
“Comparatively, the Alamo Colleges have done very well,” Cleary said.
“Alamo Colleges is not only surviving the pandemic, it is thriving,” he added.
From 2012-2018, the college district enrolled about 60,000 students.
Fall 2019 saw more than 67,000 students enroll at the college.
“It’s not luck,” Cleary said, explaining that the district has been making efforts to increase enrollment under Chancellor Mike Flores’s Smart Growth initiative.
The Smart Growth initiative is a strategic enrollment management plan the district implemented in 2018 to increase the number of students every year while maintaining the quality of education.
While the number of students in the district did not see a dramatic change over the last decade until recently, the number of students graduating from the district has risen steadily over the same amount of time.
The district awarded 6,271 degrees and certificates in 2012 compared to the 10,692 in 2018.
Cleary also mentioned Alamo Promise as another contributing factor to the rise in enrollment.
The Alamo Promise is a last-dollar scholarship that provides resources for students living in specific school districts of San Antonio.
A last dollar scholarship assists in bridging the gap between what students receive from financial aid and the final academic costs that may include textbooks, housing and other expenses.
Almost 3,000 students have enrolled through the Alamo Promise initiative.
Cleary explained that it is important for colleges to analyze enrollment numbers and use them to improve quality and accessibility.
“Our only purpose is to serve the community, and we are an economic engine for the entire community. So we should bring students in and put them into the workforce, which just perpetuates the continued economic and social strength of this community. That’s kind of a moral imperative that we have, and we’ve turned that into a strategic goal for us. We’re doing pretty well,” Cleary said.
This college saw a decrease of less than 0.1% between fall 2019 and fall 2020, falling from 19,499 to 19,487.
Certified enrollment numbers for fall 2020 are as follows:
Northeast Lakeview College: 6,717
Northwest Vista College: 18,694
Palo Alto College: 11,352
San Antonio College: 19,487
Saint Philip’s College: 12,832
Alamo Colleges total: 69,082