Enrollment down, credit hours up

Student headcount is slightly lower this spring semester than last year’s headcount — 12,634 students attend OCCC compared to last year’s 12,777, a 1.1 percent decline, said Institutional Effectiveness Director Janet Perry.

Perry said what’s unusual about this semester is, although the headcount has declined, the number of credit hours taken  are higher than what it was last year.

“In 2015, the credit hours were 108,982, compared to 108,118 in the previous year,” she said. “That’s an increase of 0.8 percent.”

Perry said the increase in credit hours is primarily coming from returning students.

“Our new students are down slightly, but our returning students are up slightly,” she said.

Students are taking more courses than what they have in the past, Perry said.

The average number of credit hours for students in spring 2015 is 8.8, she said, whereas last year’s was 8.4.

She said she attributes the increase to Student Services, who have made a conscientious effort to hire students who then call other students to remind them to enroll for the next semester.

“I think that’s a big reason why we got [more] returning students than new students,” she said.

Perry said she also attributes the credit hour increase to Academic Advising. That department has started implementing faculty members to advise students in their specific majors.

Academic Advising Assistant Director Kimberly Bays said 16 faculty members are working five hours a week to assist new and returning students with enrollment.

Bays said the faculty members have been chosen through an application process.

“[The students are] more likely to, or have been able to, see faculty advisers and get more information,” she said.

Bays said it also has been effective in helping more students waiting in line, allowing the advisers to help more students.

Perry said the faculty go to the line of students at Academic Advising to ask them directly if there are any business majors, or political science majors.

“They would pull them out of line, take them into their office area there, and counsel them on the types of courses to take,” she said. “It’s been a real positive program.”

Perry said it was something the college did during the summer months and, after seeing how beneficial it was, decided to make it a year round program.

“It’s been very successful in terms of how many students they’re meeting with, and how much more comfortable students are talking with these faculty members,” she said.

Perry said there are many things going on at the college right now to  try and stabilize enrollment, or increase it.

“That’s a critical point here for the campus,” she said.

For more information about enrolling, contact Academic Advising at 405-682-7535 to meet with an adviser.

For more information, email jpeery@occc.edu.

To contact Bryce MacElhaney, email editor@occc.edu

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