Expected Enrollment Exaggerated

Johnson County Community College says media reports have inaccurately inflated enrollment.

Last month, The Kansas City Star reported 2009 fall enrollment at JCCC swelled 21 percent from fall 2008. Yesterday, JCCC posted an item on the college’s electronic mail server, Infolist, cutting the Star’s estimate by more than half.

According to the posting, JCCC says the day The Star acquired its figures enrollment was exceptionally high but over the course of the summer enrollment has fluctuated.

In June JCCC reported summer enrollment rose by 9.7 percent over the previous summer for a total of 9,141 students . This is the largest increase in summer registration in JCCC’s 40-year history.

Certainly, the economy is a major factor in the increse for both summer 2009 and fall 2009. One simply hast o look at 2008 enrollment. In September 2008, JCCC reported fall enrollment increased less than one percent from the previous year bringing the total number of students to 19,062. In June 2008, JCCC reported summer enrollment increased 7.1 percent for a total of 8,535 students.

JCCC Infolist post:

JCCC ENROLLMENT CLARIFICATION

Newspapers and television have recently run stories about community college enrollment that require some clarification. Yes, enrollment will be up at JCCC this year. But we won’t be seeing a 20 percent increase. Why not? At the time the newspapers and TV stations conducted the interviews for the stories, registration was running up to 20 percent higher than the year before. Many factors contributed to that, not the least of which were conscious efforts by the college to encourage students to enroll earlier. But that simply meant that as of that particular summer day – compared to that day one year earlier – more students had registered. That didn’t mean the college could sustain that 20 percent figure and, indeed, the rate of increase has dropped.

Although Instruction has added more classrooms and more instructors to accommodate enrollment growth, the college simply does not have the space to handle a 20 percent increase. By Monday, Aug. 3, the increase in headcount was 9 percent (the number of credit hours was up 11 percent). Students who had not paid tuition and fees were dropped for nonpayment Aug. 4. Registration reopened Aug. 5; as of this morning, we were up 5.8 percent in headcount and 8.2 percent in credit hours.

Registration will continue throughout the semester, which begins Aug. 17. JCCC offers many courses that begin after that date. Students may enroll in classes that haven’t started, but may not enroll in ones that have. In addition, as College Now students (high school students taking courses for college credit) enroll in September, enrollment figures will continue to change.

The college is required to report its official registration numbers as of the 20th day of classes. Sept. 14 is the 20th day; information will be available Sept. 15. Those will be the final figures we show for registration and reflect the real increase for fall 2009.

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