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Chesapeake experiencing another enrollment boom

Posted on Thursday, July 01, 2004

Chesapeake College’s enrollment boom appears to be continuing based upon the first data for the Fall 2004 semester, according to college officials.

Chesapeake reported 1,592 students registered for the fall semester as of Thursday morning, an increase of 17.6 percent (238 students) compared to last July 1. The college also reported a 16.3 percent increase in Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs), which were 476.97 Thursday compared to 410.37 last July 1. Thirty credit hours taken represent one FTE, the unit that plays a critical role in determining state funding.

The latest enrollment data comes on the heels of three consecutive years of record enrollment at Chesapeake, which led the state last fall in the percent growth in full-time students. Dr. Stuart M. Bounds, Chesapeake’s president, said there are several reasons for the continued enrollment boom.

"I think Chesapeake’s reputation as a regional learning center continues to play an important role in our enrollment growth," said Dr. Bounds. "I also think the spiraling costs of attending four-year colleges and universities is a factor. Quality and cost are both considerations for students choosing Chesapeake."

The community college enrollment boom is a statewide and national trend, according to Dr. Bounds.

"Community colleges are now the primary gateway to higher education," said Dr. Bounds. "The majority of students, both in Maryland and across the country, enter higher education through community colleges."

The enrollment boom is requiring the college to analyze where the growth is taking place and what strategies can be used to meet enrollment needs.

"We are seeing classes that previously wouldn’t be filled until late August filling up in the beginning of July," said Dr. Richard Midcap, vice president for enrollment management and student services. "Our challenge is to meet rising demand with a limited number of faculty members."

Dr. Maurice Hickey, vice president for academic services, said the college regularly reviews which classes are filling and what additional sections of classes need to be added while staying within a finite budget.

"We will make sure that students have options available," said Dr. Hickey. "Even so, students registering later in the summer are going to find that classes at the most popular times may not be available."

Dr. Hickey said typically the most popular class times are between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Students registering for fall classes may find themselves scheduling 8:30 a.m., late afternoon, Friday block, or evening classes.

"Hopefully the students who typically wait until August to register for classes will come in sooner to register while more class options are available," said Dr. Hickey.

Chesapeake College is open 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, during the summer for students to register for classes. Dr. Hickey said students can view the fall schedule on the web, and those students eligible can register online for fall courses.

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