by Grant V. Ziegler
Spring 2014 semester enrollment is up 2 percent, according to the latest enrollment reports. This is uplifting news for the campus, as the fall 2013 semester saw a 1 percent decrease while the 2013 spring semester enrollment numbers remained flat with no significant drop or increase.
“It feels like we’re finally catching up from being down,” said Christa Slejko, interim president of NLC.
The number of registered students is up more than 2 percent. That may not seem like a significant increase but it amounts to roughly 300 more students attending classes. Also up 2 percent are contact hours, the time professors and students spend in the classroom together. Contact hours determine how NLC gets funding from the state.
According to Mary Ciminelli, vice president of Student Services and Enrollment Management, “If we lose tuition and contact hours, we lose money to operate.”
All NLC campuses except for the South Campus saw increases, which is unusual, as South had been the only satellite campus seeing increases while the others remained flat or decreased in enrollment. Slejko says that some courses that were originally at the South Campus have been moved to other campuses, which may explain the slight decrease in enrollment.
According to the numbers, the greatest demographic growth was among 20-25 year olds, which increased by 10 percent. There was also a slight increase in the number of enrolled Hispanic students as well. Slejko said that NLC’s construction programs are recovering, too.
“If we could improve student retention by just 10 percent there would be a significant increase in our enrollment every semester,” said Slejko. “We’re thrilled for the recent increase and hope to grow that number by preparing all our freshman for success and by working more closely with high schools.”