Enrollment at MCCC is down 9 percent from last year, the second year in a row of declining numbers.
There probably are several reasons for the drop to about 4,000 students from 4,400 last year, according to college officials.
“The economy is hopefully taking a turn for the better,” said Tracy Vogt, MCCC registrar.
College enrollment usually increases when the economy is down, because people who lose their jobs often go back to school to learn a new skill.
MCCC enrollment grew each year through the 2008-2010 recession, before falling off in 2011 and 2012.
The number of graduates from Monroe County high schools also is down, and some financial aid regulations have been tightened, Vogt said.
“Academic parameters to stay enrolled with financial aid have become more strict,” said Mark Hall, director of Admissions and Guidance Services.
Students are now required to have a high school diploma or a GED to receive financial aid, along with a higher baseline grade point average requirement.
The college also has instituted cut-off scores on placement tests – students are required to score above specified levels on COMPASS tests to qualify for most college courses.
MCCC has increased recruiting efforts on multiple fronts to try to combat the decline, Hall said.
The amount of trips to campus nights at high schools has been tripled, and MCCC is also attending campus nights out of Monroe county. MCCC is also recruiting the downriver area much heavier than in the past, Hall said.
“We have increased our recruiting efforts substantially,” he said.
The number of visits to high schools has also doubled in recent years, he said.
The recruitment area has been expanded to include Lenawee, Wayne, Lucas, and Washtenaw counties. MCCC now has the highest number of graduates from Trenton of any school in Michigan, Hall said.
Last year’s enrollment was the lowest number in the past five years, dropping down 323 students from 2010.
MCCC had enjoyed a period of yearly growth from 2007 to 2010, increasing enrollment by a total of 290 students in those years. The growth was mainly driven by the dropping economy, keeping students closer to home, and federal programs paying the tuition of workers who had been displaced by the economic depression.
Enrollment has dropped even more significantly this year, down 594 students from last year.
Credit hours are down 10.5 percent from last year, while enrollees are only down 9 percent. More students are staying right around the 12-hour full time minimum than in the past, and more students are only attending as part-time students.