Enrollment at Clovis Community College is down slightly this semester, continuing a trend of lower spring enrollment over the last three years, according to Clovis Community College President Becky Rowley.
Rowley said enrollment at this point in the semester is 3,600. Enrollment was 4,100 in spring 2011 and 4,200 in spring 2010. Full-time equivalency, the number of students taking 12 or more hours, has stayed the same, but the number of part-time students has dropped.
“What this says to me right now is that unemployment is really low in Curry County compared to the rest of the state and nationally,” Rowley said. “So when we see unemployment go down like it has in Curry County, then we expect our enrollment to go down.”
Rowley said some CCC courses have been taken away, which can also lower enrollment. Rowley said in the past many colleges were looking to have high enrollment, which is not necessarily important. Enrollment size depends on a school’s capacity. She said CCC is working to retain students before recruiting students.
“If our enrollment was to get a lot bigger we wouldn’t have anywhere to put students or new faculty,” Rowley said. “You can’t just say that you want to grow uncontrollably. We’re focusing on trying to do a really good job. That’s more important to us than being big.”
Overall enrollment may be down, but according to Rowley, the number of students in the CCC nursing program and the number of full-time online students are each at an all-time high.
“I think the job market is very good for nursing,” Rowley said. “It’s probably the best job market in our area. For our graduates that’s probably the one field that you can go into to where you’re going to get a really good paying job right when you get out of school.”
Clovis Community College Executive Vice President Robin Jones said CCC vocational programs are filled to capacity but the general education classes have a lower enrollment.
She believes Clovis’ improved economy has caused enrollment to drop. According to Jones, community college students usually choose employment over education and attend school part-time when the economy thrives. She said when the economy starts to decline enrollment will increase. Jones also attributed decreased enrollment to a recent tuition increase at CCC.
“I think that we’re providing opportunities that are unparalleled. I think we do a good job at what we do. I don’t want the economy to suffer but it’s cyclic,” Jones said.