Enrollment in the Pierce College District has declined 4 percent from 2011 to the current school year.
Although this is news to many students, the decline has been anticipated for quite some time due to population fluctuation.
Multiple influences are at play besides population, such as the economy, that affect the enrollment numbers at a college.
“Typically, a down market results in an increase in college enrollment,” Matthew Campbell, vice president for learning and student success said. “Currently, we’re in a recovering market, so that, coupled with the reduced students in the high school grad cohort, results in reduced enrollment.”
There’re currently fewer students in high school enrolling in higher education.
If a decline continues for an extended period of time, funding could be decreased for the college.
The state funding model is based on a target enrollment. If Pierce College misses their set target for enrollment two years in a row, its funding will decrease.
Fortunately, this won’t have any effect on classes offered for students. Courses are largely based on the number of students who need them, not funding.
Pierce College is working diligently to increase enrollment.
“We’ll be doing a sizable marketing approach to promote registration and consideration of ‘what’s next’ for students,” Campbell said, “A student in an introductory sociology class who is doing well should be prompted to consider a subsequent course or other coursework that helps expand the student’s knowledge and interest in that field.”
A long-term approach is to have a strategic enrollment plan, such as marketing, to better promote the college, programs and other opportunities that the local community values and will help best serve student goals.
Students sticking around for their full degree are a big factor on holding retention for enrollment.
Although we’re in year two of a decline, hopes are high that next year will be better.
“We strongly believe that we have something to offer every single person in the community,” Marty Cavalluzzi, Pierce College Puyallup president said. “Whether they are interested in a degree or certificate, one class to help them move up in their current positions or a class for entertainment, we have it.”
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