OCCC sees 8.5% drop in Spring enrollment, but ‘beating expectations’

Enrollment for OCCC is suffering the effects of COVID-19 and of all of the necessary safety precautions such as online learning according to data from the college.

Active spring enrollment numbers are down 8.5% or 2,477 enrollments compared to last spring, according to information provided by Elizabeth A. Miller, institutional research analyst for OCCC’s Institutional Effectiveness department. The enrollment numbers represent data obtained from Feb. 7 numbers.

Other statistics show the college taking a hit in multiple ways. 

Total credit hours are down 7.4% or 6,762 hours.

The number of class sections is down 10.4% or 147 sections, and the current headcount is down 6.6% or 718 students. 

The final spring semester headcount will not be available until April, according to the data Miller provided.

Despite this, the college is beating the expectations it set for itself, Michael D. Hoggatt, director of recruitment and admissions, said. 

OCCC had budgeted for a 20% spring enrollment decrease, so the current performance is significantly better than expected, Hoggatt said.

“[OCCC is] outperforming other colleges relative to their expectations as well,” he said.

“We have regular conversations with our peers at other institutions, and while it’s not our business to share their specific obstacles or metrics, we’re very pleased where we’re at relative to the market,” Hoggatt said.

The college more heavily invested in recruiting in the fall, knowing that it would help in the spring, Hoggatt said. 

This helped to ensure that enrollment for the academic year is actually up overall, he said.

“We’ve been running a campaign specifically focused on cost-savings compared to these large institutions,” Hoggatt said.

“And especially given the state of college sports and safety concerns in dorms, there’s a lot of upside to attending OCCC. More than normal,” he said.

Hoggatt praised everyone involved in the recruitment process saying that when the product is exceptional, the job of persuading people to enroll at OCCC is easier.

“Recruitment is a team sport. We’re grateful to the admissions team and student advisors helping students apply and get enrolled, to those in financial aid who are helping our students make smart decisions in how they pay, to those in marketing for creating great campaigns that get attention and bring people in, and to the rest of the faculty and staff for providing an experience we can be proud of,” Hoggatt said.

Additionally, OCCC has another eight week term coming up bringing another opportunity to increase enrollment, he said.

The decrease in enrollment does not point to students enrolling at other institutions, Hoggatt said.

“We understand that some students may decide that the online learning environment isn’t right for them, or that they want to hold out for that traditional college experience in-person classes offer, or that the economy has created new financial hardships that prevent them from being able to afford college right now,” Hoggatt said.