Grants, over-enrollment mark school year — Workforce education funds come to Olympic College amid broader crunch

Olympic College is entering the 2011 school year with two new aerospace workforce grants and nearly 27 percent more students than forecast, college officials said Tuesday.

This year’s headcount puts the college at 1,200 students more than official projections, said college President Dr. David Mitchell.

Surpassing the projections is significant because the state allots funds each year based on those projections. When actual enrollment surpasses projections, it also surpasses the state funding, Mitchell said.

Both announcements came at the September meeting of the college board of trustees held Tuesday afternoon.

Mitchell said overloads of at least 400 students have been the norm at the college for some time, and that he expected them to continue.

In 2011, the college was allotted funds for about 4,500 full-time students.

“We believe we are going to be over-enrolled for the foreseeable future,” Mitchell told the board. He did not elaborate.

The aerospace grants, for about $102,000 and $2 million, respectively, are part of larger awards to two consortiums of Washington community colleges, said Sharon Kline, director of grants at the college.

The $102,000 grant came from state funding set aside by Governor Chris Gregoire for aerospace workforce training. The $2 million grant came from the federal Department of Labor, and is earmarked for the same purpose, said Mary Garguile, vice president of instruction at the college.

The college plans to buy a lathe and mill, both computer numerical controlled, using part of the $102,000 grant. Even though the machines are being purchased for aerospace workforce education, Garguile said they will also be used in the curriculum of other classes as well.

Included in the $102,000 grant, said Kline, is $15,633 for instruction in the use of the machines.

The $2 million grant will be used to fund instruction, equipment, and student development related to precision machining, electronics, and composite manufacturing, said Kline.

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