Employment up, enrollment down

By Ann Voight.

Does DMACC seem emptier?  Are the lunch lines shorter, books more readily available in the library, and is it easier to find a parking spot?

The answers to all of the above-mentioned questions are ‘yes’ in theory.  This semester, enrollment is down 4-5% from last year.

“20,167 students were enrolled for the 2013 fall semester,” said Joe DeHart, Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Assistant to the President at Des Moines Area Community College.

“The recent decline in enrollment at DMACC was not a surprise and is a true reflection that the economy is better and people are going back to work, and working more hours. It is a state-wide and national trend,” said DMACC President Rob Denson.

Another way DMACC is working toward raising enrollment numbers is their marketing strategy.

“We are continuing to market aggressively and want to reach even more of the students who want a 4-year degree but love our quality, smaller classes and, at the same time, save 40-80% of the cost of tuition in the first two years,” said Denson.

Unconcerned by this drop in enrollment at DMACC, programs have been implemented to help raise numbers.  Two new programs are the C4 coalition and UCT@DMACC.  Both are geared towards transferring students.

One of the main goals of these programs is getting students to graduate with degrees, emphasizing the benefits for students who are planning on transferring to earn a four-year degree.

The decrease in enrollment is anticipated to cause a 5% decline in revenue, but according to DeHart, “These declines, at least partially, take care of themselves because we need fewer [class] sections and, in turn, pay for fewer adjunct instructors.”  While class sections were cut in order to save costs, many were no longer needed because of the lower number of students.

Despite the loss of revenue and enrollment, administrators are determined to make sure that reducing the budget to meet student numbers does not impact service or quality, and that all of the students’ needs are met.

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