We've heard of businesses downsizing, but a college?  It's true. Officials at Lon Morris College in Jacksonville say efforts to shrink the school's enrollment are working, and it's now a little over half of what it was last year.  What's going on?


Fall enrollment at Lon Morris now stands at 607 full time and part time students.  Last last year's enrollment was 1,070, and the "shrinkage" is intentional.

Lon Morris President Dr. Miles McCall says the school had grown too much too fast in recent years.  Classrooms were packed to overflowing, and there wasn't enough student housing.  The school was renting houses, apartments, and even hotel rooms because there wasn't enough housing on campus.

So they decided to bring enrollment back down to levels the faculty and the school can accommodate, and then grow the enrollment again but at a slower and more manageable rate.

The school used several tactics to reduce enrollment. They raised tuition and fees an additional $750 per semester, bringing the total cost to $21,830 per year. That one step kept a lot of people away.

The school also reduced the number of scholarships available in many programs and reduced the size of some programs.  For example, the number of men in the football program was reduced from 300 to 120.

McCall says no full-time faculty members were laid off, but contracts for a large number of adjunct instructors were not renewed.
McCall says they plan to raise enrollment back to 1,000 students again, eventually, but not until it has classrooms and on-campus housing for that many students.  Lon Morris College is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, and it was founded in 1873.  It's the oldest two-year college in Texas.

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