Knight said declining enrollment affects both the colleges state funding and its tuition, which accounts for 78 percent of the colleges operating revenue. Knight said that enrollment is still declining, but at a slower rate. The college retained 77 percent of its degree-seeking students from fall to winter 2016-2017, compared with 79 percent the previous school year, according to Associate Vice President of Planning and Effectiveness Shanda Diehl. Diehl said there were 5,538 state-funded quarterly full-time students this winter, down from 5,822 in the fall. The state counts a full-time student as a bundle of 15 credits of classes by either a single student or more, excluding Running Start students. In May 2016, Knight said that low enrollment was due to improvements in the local economy, which prompts fewer people to seek training for new jobs and opportunities. The enrollment shortfall affects both the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges budget and several state and federal grants, said Vice President of Instruction Tim Cook. The Worker Retraining Program, which helps people who have been laid off obtain education needed for new jobs, lost $15,000 and in 2018, the Perkins Grant will have lost $163,023 since 2015. But Cook said the biggest cuts have been made to the Work First Program, which has a budget of about $600,000 and will lose 39 percent of its funding. In preparation for budget cuts, Knight asked that every department find 1 to 2 percent of its budget to eliminate if necessary.
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