TCC preps new students for back to school

By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
August 18, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- It’s back to school for students at Tallahassee Community College.

The college held its first ever New Student Convocation Friday morning ahead of the official first day, which is slated for Monday.

“What’s exciting is to see the parents and the students here and meet people from all over the place, as far as Costa Rica,” said TCC President Jim Murdaugh. “So today’s event was to make them feel welcome and give them advice and hands on guidance.”

Enrollment for the fall semester stands at 11,063 students, which is slightly higher than at the same time last year, which was 10,998. When all was said and done in fall 2016, the number reached 12,242 students.

The current number enrolled is a relief for the college, after enrollment was expected to decline by about 2.5 percent. That would cost the school $864,278.

"It may not be a big surprise, but students sometimes procrastinate, and so we've seen actually a slight increase as we talk today,” said Murdaugh.

This year, TCC is working with a budget of about $61 million. That’s smaller than the 2016-2017 budget and required some belt-tightening after the state cut funding. TCC had to absorb about $2.1 million in lost state funding.

To make up for this, the college is currently in a hiring freeze. And, staff will not see raises this year. Weekend classes have been eliminated, the cost of custodial supplies and maintenance equipment has been reduced and there’s been a reduction to the operating budget, among other things.

"We're making some other internal changes that impact the staff's ability to deliver services,” said Murdaugh. "What we did not do, and I'm very proud of this, we did not lay anyone off. We did not furlough anybody on board. But, we are delaying some of the hiring, that's the major way we're making up the deficit."

Despite some operating changes based on the budget, students are still making their way to campus.

"I'm just excited to get a new start,” said Brittney Jackson, a new student who is coming to TCC from Jacksonville.

Students come from all over to attend Tallahassee Community College. Over the last two years, about 46 percent of students have been from out of district, out of state or out of country. Staff at the college attribute that to TCC’s national ranking and its “TCC2FSU” program.

Several students told Eyewitness News that the easy access to Florida State University was a big push in choosing TCC.

"It's very cost efficient and the transfer from TCC is really seamless,” said Jackson.

“I wanted to go to FSU,” said Vsevolod Kylyvnyk, who traveled from Fort Lauderdale to attend TCC. “This is a good option because of the transfer program.”

As students prepare for classes, President Murdaugh gave some parting advice.

“The big advice to a new student is come to class all the time, do your assignments when they’re given to you and when you need help ask for help,” he said. “Believe it or not, if a student would do those things, their success rate would go up.”

Enrollment is still open for express sessions which begin in September and October.

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