03/26/14 — College: Numbers are up for year

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College: Numbers are up for year

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 26, 2014 1:46 PM

Technology and health-related programs at Wayne Community College, as well as continuing education, continue to draw high enrollment numbers, WCC President Dr. Kay Albertson told the college board of trustees Tuesday night.

Spring enrollment for the curriculum programs has shown an increase over the same time last year, with 3,831 compared to 3,815. That is below the fall enrollment figures, though, which were at 4,031.

She said areas drawing more interest are information systems and computer technology, which also includes simulation and game development. There were 164 enrolled in the program in the spring of 2012, with 174 in the spring of 2013 and presently it has 213.

"It's so much more now than working behind computers and I think that's a part of the reason that we're seeing the growth there," Mrs. Albertson said. "This is a high-tech area, 174 last spring to this spring, 213. That might not seem like a lot but that's a good increase."

Medical and office administration has also steadily risen, from 303 two years ago to 325 for this spring. And more students are gravitating to more work force development areas such as engineering and manufacturing, Mrs. Albertson said.

As a result, there has been a drop in the number of students pursuing associate in arts and associate in science degrees in the transfer program.

"The program numbers are down about 69," she said. "That's not significant but it's down a little bit."

Two years ago, the transfer program had 1,709 students and hovered at 1,708 in the spring of 2013. This spring's enrollment is 1,639.

The president said despite the dip, which she attributed to more interest in skill-focused programs, the college has had another "strong academic year."

Another area with a solid support base is continuing education.

"Our numbers are constantly changing, because we're enrolling folks all the time," said Renita Dawson, associate vice president of continuing education services.

The department encompasses basic skills, public safety and allied health as well as seminars and classes through the Wayne Business and Industry Center.

With new courses starting almost every day, the enrollment is expected to increase throughout the semester. As of this week, the estimated number was 3,897.

"The whole con ed area is so broad," Mrs. Albertson said. "There's so many going on there all the time. Those numbers are always pinging all over the place. Until the summer, we're not going to be able to tell you the numbers in con ed."

The president also made the board aware of some visitors who recently showed up at the college.

"Currently on campus we have two representatives from the Department of Education Financial Aid Division, who are here reviewing our financial aid department and processes," she said. "We haven't had a Department of Education financial review in 25 years and they don't know how we fell through the cracks. It's not because we're doing anything inappropriate. It's just our time."

She said the visit will likely entail a review of the college practices and processes, and include interviews with staff and students.

"They will be here through Thursday evening," she said. "This is the first time for all of us. This is new and different for us."