Fall enrollment down 5 percent

Enrollment at MCCC for the 2011 Fall Semester is down 5 percent from last year.

Preliminary numbers place enrollment at 4,439. Last fall semester, enrollment was at 4,698.    

“The decline in enrollment reflects the financial hardships students are facing these days, at a time when higher education is more important than ever,” said MCCC President David Nixon.

When compared to the 28 other community colleges in Michigan, MCCC had the tenth largest decline in fall enrollment from the previous year.

Tracy Vogt, MCCC’s registrar, attributes the decline to four major factors: a lack of jobs; new graduation standards for high school students; the end of certain government programs; and changing requirements for college courses.

Due to the high unemployment in Michigan, many families are leaving the state and attempting to find work elsewhere. With fewer people living in Michigan, fewer people will go to college.

State requirements for graduating from high school were recently changed. The 2011 class was the first to graduate since the policy change. The number of high school graduates was expected to be fewer than previous years, according to Vogt.

Michigan’s No Worker Left Behind program, which provided unemployed and displaced workers with two free years of training or community college, has ended. Many students who participated in that program have graduated.

Vogt also said counselors for MCCC have reported enrollment in sciences classes is down because of new prerequisites required to take those classes.

Nixon said he hopes MCCC’s low cost will attract more people to the college.

“Students will appreciate the fact that MCCC’s tuition remains one of the most affordable in Michigan,” Nixon said.

“Recently, a U.S. Department of Education study suggested MCCC’s tuition was one of America’s low ‘net’ tuition rates of two-year public community colleges the similar in size,” he said.

Mark Hall, director of guidance and admissions, said he thinks the decline in enrollment can be attributed to the new health care law.

“They can enroll part-time or not at all and still have coverage,” he said.