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Year in review 2018: Lone Star College System sees record enrollment, rebuilds facilities

December 20, 2018

With more than 100,000 students setting foot in one of Lone Star College’s campuses or centers each semester, every year is bound to exhibit growth and change.

This year was no different. Here is a look back at 2018 at one of the Houston region’s most active educational institutes.

Record enrollment

Chancellor Steve Head said that enrollment hit an all-time high in the fall 2018 semester with about 89,200 students taking classes and another 15,000 students enrolled in non-credit workforce programs.

At the spring graduation this year, almost 8,000 students received associate’s degrees and thousands of students transferred to other institutions to continue their education.

Building development and recovery

When Hurricane Harvey hit the area in 2017, LSC-Kingwood was heavily impacted. Head said college officials has been hard at work restoring the damaged buildings, so that campus is gearing up to fully re-open in January.

Other buildings were opened as new this year, though. The Process Technology Center near Atascocita opened, as well as the LSC-North Harris construction trade facility and the LSC-University Park Center for Science and Innovation.

Awards and recognition

This year, based on an employee survey, LSC was recognized for the second year in a row as one of the great colleges to work for by The Chronicle for Higher Education.

In addition, Head said the college was recognized as one of the top 10 associate degree-producers for minorities and one of the top 10 community college degree-givers in the country.

Trustee change-up

Newly elected trustees Michael Stoma, Ernestine Pierce and Mike Sullivan replaced outgoing LSC Board of Trustees members David Holsey, Kyle Scott and Ron Trowbridge as a result of the Nov. 6 election.

Head said he thinks that though they expect a lot out of the board members, he is confident the new members will be fine.

Department of Education review

During a program review of the college, the federal Department of Education found that more than 6,000 students incorrectly received federal grants and loans over a four-year period, which made up about 2 percent of the almost $663 million awarded from 2012 to 2016.

The college announced the findings at the end of November, but made it clear that they planned to appeal the findings as they found documentation that some students were correctly awarded the money.

Head said he thinks the appeal will occur in March.

Looking forward

While the college is planning to expand their partnerships with other universities at LSC-University Center in the new year, they also submitted a proposal to offer a bachelor’s degree of science and nursing at LSC-Montgomery and a bachelor’s degree of applied technology at three construction trade locations.

Head said he expects approval for that to come in March, and implementation to be in late 2019 or early 2020.

“We’re looking forward to next year, and I think it’ll be very positive,” Head said.

jane.stueckemann@chron.com

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