College sees decline in enrollment numbers

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Graphic by Margaret Mellott

Alessandro DeBrevi

Staff reporter

adbrevi@jccc.edu

There was a decline in enrollment at the college this semester. As of Sept. 18, 18,638 students are enrolled at the college.

This is about 500 fewer students than the previous semester, a 2.6 percent decline. The decline in enrollment was seen in transfer, first-time and high school students. There was an increase in re-enrolling students.

“We’re never satisfied when there’s a decrease,” said MargE Shelley, Assistant Dean of Enrollment Management. “Sometimes we know, maybe due to economics or things that are happening in the state … that we might be down in certain areas.”

While numbers are down this semester, Shelley said this does not indicate a long-term trend. Shelley also explained that the statistics often fluctuate, as the college is constantly enrolling students throughout the year.

“We take another look at numbers at the end of the semester,” Shelley said.

For now, the college will look at data to help them predict and increase future enrollment. They will analyze statistics like high school graduation rates, data from the state and the number of courses offered at the college.

Comparing this information with previous semesters helps the college understand why numbers in certain areas might have changed.

While some numbers change semester-to-semester, others remain largely the same.

One program that has seen consistent enrollment numbers over the past several years is Continuing Education. Continuing Education allows individuals to remarket themselves and attain specific skills in non-credit classes that vary in subject and length.

Debbie Rulo, the director of Continuing Education, attributes the consistent enrollment to the work her six program directors do out in public.

“They go out and they make calls to companies, saying, ‘Hey. This is who we are and this is what we do.’,” Rulo said. “That’s how we’re getting the word out.”

Another way the program reaches customers is with scholarships that are awarded to customers who are unemployed or underemployed.

“We can give scholarships to individuals for programs that lead to a direct certificate, certification, or some kind of credential,” Rulo said. “The purpose is so that they can get a job right away.”

The college is looking to do more than recruit new students.

“We have been working on retention efforts,” Shelley said.

One of these retention efforts is putting students in contact with their Success Advocates. Success Advocates help students find places on campus like the Writing Center and the Math Resource Center. These resources are available to help students get personalized assistance in specific areas.

Student Services also helps students by calling to check in and remind them about upcoming deadlines.

“Before we start spring enrollment we might call students and say, ‘Do you know you have a hold that’s going to stop registration? Just want to make you aware of that so you can take care of that before spring enrollment starts,’” Shelley said.

Shelley explained why students should enroll as soon as they are able to.

“It is helpful for students to enroll early,” Shelley said. “[There is a] better selection of classes [and] I think they’re better prepared.”

Enrollment for spring classes opens at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25 for all students at the college.

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