SCC released its unofficial fall enrollment numbers at its meeting of the Board of Trustees on Monday. Fall headcount grew 3.6% to 3,225 students. Credit hour enrollment increased by 1.7% to 31,755.
SCC President Michael Ash states that the numbers contrast with other community colleges across the state. To date, ten of the fifteen have released their preliminary numbers. Of those ten, three report flat or slight increases. The other seven are down.
“We’re really pleased with the numbers. Some community colleges across the state have reported decreases up to 8%.”
Ash indicates that it’s hard to attribute the increase to any one thing. “Every one of us here at SCC has a part to play in student enrollment, and our initiatives are increasingly student-focused: instruction, support, services – everything. I think the enrollment numbers show what we’re doing is working.”
SCC’s Vice President of Academic Affairs David Schachtsiek notes that many college staff have been hard at work designing new academic options to appeal to a broader audience of students.
The first initiative is the development of more transfer degree programs with four-year colleges.
“This year we added a Pre-Athletic Training program in partnership with Great River Health Systems in West Burlington, and we’ve also been working to add transfer options for teacher preparation in elementary education.”
Schachtsiek continues that the college is developing certain technical program offerings into what he calls “stackable certificates.” Students will take courses covering certain topics in a specific sequence to earn certificates of completion.
“We’re trying very hard to transition to competency-based learning. Students can take classes to learn skills in a very particular area and earn a certificate. They can stop there or they can continue their education to earn additional certificates or earn them all to complete their degree.”
Another area where the college continues to see growth is in high school concurrent enrollment.
“We’ve really ramped up our class offerings in high schools throughout the region. And by working closely with superintendents and high school principals, we can provide the right mix of courses at each school,” Schachtsiek explains.
Ash adds that successful renewal of SCC’s bonded levy request on September 10 will put the college in the position to build momentum.
“On September 10, our residents told us that they believe in what we’re doing. Now we’ll be able to invest funds to expand programs and improve our facilities. This will help us serve more students in our region and better compete with other colleges throughout the tri-state area.”