On time or not at all

Ending late registration will improve success rates, predict officials at San Jacinto College in Texas. But it will cut tuition revenue and state funding. Failure rates are significantly higher for students who enroll late, notes Inside Higher Ed.

“When you’re funded based on the twelfth day of class, it encourages you to drive enrollment and just keep trying to focus on enrollment,” said Brenda Hellyer, San Jacinto chancellor. “But you’ve just got to go with your values. And one of our values is student success. We know we’re going to see results from this.”

Last fall, San Jacinto didn’t allow late registration for remedial courses.  Enrollment grew by 1 percent compared to a 7.5 percent increase for other courses.

Some would-be late registrants enrolled in the college’s “Take 2″ courses, compressed courses on 12-week schedules that start later in the semester.

This fall, no late registration will be allowed. That could affect hundreds of students.

The Texas Association of Community Colleges is lobbying for additional funding to reward community colleges that improve completion rates, instead of funding based solely on enrollment.

South Texas College abolished late registration in 2005. Enrollment declined by 3 percent, but some students would-be late registrants enrolled in “mini-mesters,” 12-week courses that start a few weeks into the semester.

Enrollment rebounded in subsequent years and completion rates have improved.