PVCC: 1,000 More Students Coming

A projection by the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) shows that 40,000 students more than the current number will expect to receive an education from the Virginia college system come 2012, but there’s just not the capacity to handle them. One thousand of those will expect to go to PVCC. Melanie Mayhew wrote in yesterday’s Daily Progress:

Demand projections indicate that nearly 1,000 additional students will want to enroll by 2012 at Piedmont Virginia Community College, which President Frank Friedman believes the college cannot accommodate without additional state funding.

“We would love to educate all of those students, but the state must fund our capacity so we can accept all of those students,” he said. “The handwriting is on the wall. In 2012, we’re going to have thousands of students turned away unless the state takes action now. More and more Virginians will be squeezed out of higher education.”


Although PVCC will be able to accommodate all of its 4,300 students this fall, steadily climbing enrollment figures will limit students’ choice of classes and class times, Friedman said.

I can say, having just graduated from Virginia Tech in May, that overcrowding is currently a tremendous problem. Our class sizes were limited not by the number of seats, but by the fire marshall, who began to audit classrooms to determine how many students could safely sit on the steps, stand in the aisles, and peek through the doorway. Freshmen are told at orientation that it will take five years to graduate, because there’s not enough room in the classes that they need.

I figure that we need to either increase funding or limit growth. If there’s another solution, I don’t see it.

5 thoughts on “PVCC: 1,000 More Students Coming”

  1. PVCC isn’t all that. Period. The reason why is that the school is full of upper class snobs in the student body and adminsration. The reason why is that basically they think they can get away with trying to be better than everybody else. Plus the college thinks that they are somehow great while the school wants to threathen the common student with explusion (ask me I have some horror stories for you to share.) Plus Frank friedman is a nobody and his adminisrator is nobodys also. Plus the College Senate is a group of people who don’t care about no one at the school. That is all the time i have for today.

  2. this doesn’t fall into the category of “solution,” i’m afraid, because i don’t have an actual plan for how to achieve this. but it seems to me that part of the problem is that the B.A./B.S. degree has become the new high school diploma–without it, there are little/no employment options. it’s like an educational arms race–how long before the Ph.D. becomes the basic prerequisite for getting an entry-level job at Employer X? (okay, that scenario seems far-fetched…)

    i’m a fan of higher education, but not so much that I think our population is well-served by making a college degree a pre-req for just about any non-service industry job a person might want. college is fun and it’s great to broaden one’s horizons and get that liberal education (read some philosophy, etc.). but i’m not prepared to say that this experience should be required before someone begins working.

    I guess part of the problem here is the disappearance of the kind of well-paying job that never required a college degree–skilled labor, challenging industrial/factory work, the kind of stuff one could apprentice for in ye olde days. with all of those jobs either being shipped overseas or being taken over by automatons, that leaves just the service industry (would you like to try our new steak fajita today?) as the kind of job you can get without a degree.

    i would love to see our workscape change so that there were dignified, well-remunerated jobs for people who just don’t want or aren’t suited for a college degree. People can get their liberal education/exposure to great ideas and culture in so many other ways–so many more effective ways–then sitting through four years of college.

  3. Absolutely, Cecil. It’s not a popular thing to say, but college isn’t (or shouldn’t be) the right track for a lot of kids. Either they’re not going to get much out of it, or their career interests don’t warrant it. And the fact is that you can make a great deal of money in this world without a college degree. (Plumber being an excellent example. Those guys make a fortune.)

    In the time that I served on the board of the Information Technology Academy, I spent a good bit of time talking about this with Linda Seaman, who is executive director of the Charlottesville Area School Business Alliance. Linda makes a very strong case for the need for close connections between high schools, employers, and career training organizations. If it’s clear that a 10th grader will lack two of three essential elements (aptitude, interest, money), then it’s time to put her on a career track that will ensure that, when she graduates from 12th grade, he’ll have a job lined up, thanks to her skills education and her time as an apprentice.

    This approach serves schools, business, students. It’s a far sight better than a family scraping together $50k to put their child through four years of school, only to have a 21-year-old with neither job skills nor a sufficiently-successful college career to make anything of it.

    CASBA’s getting it right. CATEC is certainly getting it right. The Virginia Community College System is very much getting it right. This approach, no matter how successful, isn’t likely to relieve us of the burden brought by growth, which will keep requiring greater capacity in our higher education system. But it can help.

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