college officials decided to admit a smaller class in 1994.
Meanwhile, enrollment at neighboring Bucks County Community College is down this semester by about 8 percent. College officials there attribute some of the decline to the belief that during a good economy students are more likely to enroll in private, more expensive schools.
Hirsh, however, doesn't think Del Val is picking up students who would opt for BCCC in a recession.
"It's quite a significant gap in cost between community colleges and private colleges," he said. "It's not a decision you'd make in one year to switch."
Tuition at Del Val is $12,450 a year. With room and board, the figure is about $17,000.
College officials attribute some of the enrollment jump to increased efforts to encourage alumni to recruit students. The college has also tried to increase the number of students from other states and countries.
In addition, the college offers environmental and agricultural programs that aren't found in many four-year colleges.
The good news about enrollment should make William L. George's job a little easier. Last week, George took the helm of the college as president. He replaced George F. West, who returned to teaching at the college.
The boost in enrollment is not just good for public relations; it's good for the budget. In 1990, enrollment was at 1,153, and the school had a deficit of $750,000.
Last year, the college had a surplus of $500,000. Enrollment figures, however, explain only part of the budget shift; in the last few years, the
college also sought additional education grants.
Despite the upward enrollment trend, college officials said there are no
plans to expand the campus.