Community Colleges across New York State, including Onondaga Community College, are trying to stem the tide of declining enrollment.
Statewide enrollment at these 2-year schools has dropped 20-percent since 2010.
That year OCC had 11,785 students but recorded a record 13,018 students two years later.
Since 2012 OCC has seen a drop in enrollment in all but one year, resulting in a 16-percent decline from Fall 2010 to Fall 2018.
Last Fall OCC enrollment stood at 9,834 students.
OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill says, “There are fewer college-aged students, so enrollment is going down. It’s going down here, it’s going down at 4-years there’s more competition for fewer people.”
The competition is not just among colleges.
With so many open jobs many high school graduates are opting for the workforce instead of school, and rather than go back to school for a second career those people are finding new jobs.
OCC has rolled out a number of efforts to attract that smaller pool of potential students.
One of the programs is Weekend College, which started for the first time ever at OCC last August.
It allows students to earn a 2-year Associate Degrees in 12 to 14 months through an accelerate year round calendar where classes are held Friday nights and during the day Saturdays.
Dr.Crabill says the school is also trying to make it easier for people to enroll in any program by giving anyone admitted to OCC a personal contact.
“One individual that will help manage them all the way through enrollment in the second semester, answer any questions, run interference with financial aid and all the paperwork that comes with enrolling in an institution to try to make sure that students who want to come here have an easier time,” she says.
OCC also just introduced a program starting this Fall Semester to significantly cut down on the cost of textbooks to attract students and also retain them.
“So if a student enrolls but can’t complete because they don’t have the materials, they become a dropout. That’s an enrollment decline that’s unconscionable,” Dr. Crabill tells NewsChannel 9.
All most all but one Community College in the State has seen a decline in enrollment since Fall 2010.
- Corning Community College down from 5,391 in Fall 2010 to 3,424 in Fall 2018
- Cayuga Community College down from 4,719 in Fall 2010 to 3,775 in Fall 2018.
- Jefferson Community College down from 3,738 in Fall 2010 to 3,277 in Fall 2018.
- Mohawk Valley Community College down from 7,155 in Fall 2010 to 6,317 in Fall 2018.
- Monroe Community College down from 18,995 in Fall 2010 to 12,273 in Fall 2018.
- Tompkins Cortland Community College down from 5,513 in Fall 2010 to 2,373 in Fall 2018.