Despite having increased enrollment in the last few sessions, Sampson Community College is seeing a slight decrease in students currently enrolled for the fall semester.
Marvin Rondon, director of academic services and institutional effectiveness, reported to trustees that the headcount enrollment through Sept. 7 was slightly lower than the same time last year. Total enrollment for Fall 2017 semester is 1,413 students, just six percent lower than final enrollment of 1,505 for curriculum programs in Fall 2016.
According to Rondon, the college has multiple entry points for enrollment, including the upcoming eight-week session that begins Oct. 11. Multiple entry points for enrollment, Rondon felt, could be the reasoning behind a lower number enrolled for the fall.
“The college is currently admitting students who will begin their enrollment in this shorter session,” Rondon said.
The mini-mester offers students a second opportunity to enroll in classes during the fall if they were unable to do so during registration earlier in August. The eight-week semester is available to both new and returning students.
“We consider this a very successful adaptation that allows students who were late securing financial aid or who were unable to start classes in August to enroll later in the fall,” Blair Hairr, dean of student services, said. “We have a number of students who find the ‘mini-mester’ works best for their skills and time management. As an example, ENG 111 and ENG 112 can be completed in one 16-week period utilizing two ‘mini-mesters’.”
Following the first 10 days of the fall session, Rondon said he looked at the numbers to determine the areas attributing to the decrease in student enrollment. Approximately 66 percent of the loss of students can be directly related to three courses — Nursing 101, BLET and Cosmetology.
With financial aid no longer covering the beginning level nursing course, there were 40 students less that last year. The BLET program, Rondon said, now has two academies and the total enrollment from Fall 2016 to Fall 2017 dropped from 25 students to 17 students. Cosmetology’s beginning course lost 13 students. Between these three courses, Rondon said 61 of the 92 students lost can be accounted for in the decrease.
Late registration for the mini-mester will be Oct. 3 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The college is currently providing classes through Workforce Development and Continuing Education which traditionally have been offered through curriculum programs.
According to Hair, numbers were up for the summer semesters, largely in part due to the expanded schedule of classes being offered. Not only were more classes offered during the summer, the Career and College Promise program brought additional students in for summer classes.
Last fall, the college offered three new programs, and was attributed as being one of the reasons enrollment was up. Students were given the opportunity to register for the medical assisting program, emergency medical science program and emergency management technology program.
“Sampson Community College provides an array of programs and opportunities for any individual that steps through our doors,” Hairr shared when reporting fall enrollment numbers last year. “I personally believe the addition of these program, along with other changes we have made, have had a direct impact on our enrollment numbers.”
Dr. Bill Starling, vice president of academic affairs, agreed.
“We aggressively expanded our summer offerings to meet the demands of many of our visiting senior institution students who were home for the summer,” Starling explained. “While it is reasonable to believe summer enrollment may adversely affect fall numbers, we believe the college has been successful in reaching senior institution students not adequately served by SCC during past summer terms and contributed to the academic success of many these young people. We realize our final fall 2017 enrollment has yet to be determined and take pride in the work our faculty and staff do each day to teach and serve our local community.”
For more information about Sampson Community College and the many academic programs and opportunities, visit www.sampsoncc.edu or call 910-592-8081. For anyone interested in fall classes, contact the college.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.