LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Angelina College has seen a significant increase in enrollment numbers and the thousands of students are forcing the college to make some needed changes.
It's just a day of class for student at Angelina College, but for President Larry Phillips, it's a year for the history books.
"The record enrollment previously was fall 2003, we had just over 5,000 students and it looks like we'll exceed that by at least 300 students," said Phillips. "So it will be a record, all-time enrollment for Angelina College."
The large numbers mean a bigger workload for the college faculty.
"I would guess that at this point, we've added over 25 sections of college-level courses and many more developmental education courses," said the college's Vice President and Dean of Instruction Patricia McKenzie.
"We have had to add extra sections," said English Instructor Diana Throckmorton. "We have upped the numbers in the sections we have, in my opinion, to a large amount. Some of them as much as 27 to a writing class, which is high."
Throckmorton said she would normally have around 22 students in her English classes, but the full classrooms are a challenge the instructors are willing to take.
"It's exciting to see this many people come back to school so we're pleased about it, but it's stretching us somewhat," said Throckmorton.
Some things just come with the territory, especially with a nearly 7 percent growth in your student population.
"Our new parking lot gave us 70 additional parking spaces and we filled that up and then there's some on the street," said Phillips.
The college is determined to make sure everyone leaves with what they came to achieve.
"They're here for a variety of reasons for job retraining, to start their college careers," said Phillips. "We hope they're successful and we're going to do everything we can to make them successful these first few semesters."
While the many new faces means more work, the college is just glad the students cared enough to reach for a degree.
"It's just good to see this many people realize that higher education is the road to the new economy," said Phillips.
"We are extremely excited because we tell people every year that education is the key to a different future, a better future, and that their survival will depend upon their education preparation and so this time, they listened," McKenzie said.
Tuesday was the last day of registration for the college, and an official student count won't be available for a few weeks.