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Recession increases enrollment at QCC

As economy continue to struggle, student enrollment at Bayside’s Queensborough Community College is up more than 12 percent this semester, the largest−ever increase in new students at the CUNY institution, the college’s president said.

Winston Yarde, director of admissions and recruitment for the college, said Queensborough typically aims for a 3 percent increase during the spring semester. But he said enrollment is up from 11,202 students at this time last year to 12,630 students this year.

Dr. Paris Svoronos, professor and chairman of the school’s Chemistry Department, said the school’s priority was to make sure Queensborough could accommodate as many new students as possible.

“We’ve added extra tutoring as well as additional exams and quizzes to make sure that students who register late don’t fall behind,” he said.

Dr. Eduardo Marti, the college’s president, attributed the huge increase in incoming freshmen and transfer students to both the school’s reputation and the national economic downturn.

“Obviously, the economy has had a major impact,” he said. “It’s the largest increase in the history of the college from one spring semester to another.”

He said the rapid growth of the student body forced the college to close freshmen admission Jan. 12 this year.

“We’re pretty much nearing capacity,” Marti said. “We couldn’t accept any more new students. My advice to any students thinking about applying to Queensborough is to apply early.”

He said the increase in students would not lead to larger class sizes because there is typically a drop−off in students between the fall and spring semesters. But he said there are about the same number of students this spring at the college as there were last fall semester, which tends to have the highest enrollment for the college.

Queensborough, which currently has a total 23,000 enrolled students, boasts a diverse student body. An estimated 47 percent of its students speak a language other than English at home.

Marti said the school has not yet been able to determine whether the current economic climate has affected which majors students choose. But he said he has not noticed any migration toward or away from any specific field of study. He said the college’s largest programs are still liberal arts and allied health and nursing.

He said Queensborough will kick off a new program in the fall, under which incoming students will be split up into six academies: liberal arts; business; education; allied health and nursing; visual and performing arts; and science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Each program will have coordinators who will manage student progress.

Marti said the purpose of the academies is to provide counselors for new students who encounter problems, such as financial issues or providing tutoring for students who have difficulty with their classes.

“It’s our hope that this will greatly improve our retention and graduation rate,” he said.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

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