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Chesapeake College Enrollment Sets New Spring Record

Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007

WYE MILLS – Chesapeake College´s spring credit enrollment hit an all-time high in 2007, with virtually all major indicators increasing over Spring 2006 enrollment, according to college officials.

Overall student headcount enrollment was up 5 percent to a record 2,461 students, with the increases well distributed among the college´s support counties. Dorchester (7 percent), Talbot (7 percent), and Queen Anne´s (6 percent) counties all registered increases of 6 percent or more compared to Spring 2006. Kent County headcount enrollment increased 3 percent in Spring 2007, and led all service counties in five-year growth (12 percent).

Caroline County enrollment was virtually identical to last spring – down a total of four students – but has increased 7 percent over the last five years.

"We´re very pleased with the spring enrollment data," said Dr. Stuart Bounds, Chesapeake College´s president. "Enrollment is one of many indicators we track in order to assess how well we are serving our service region, so the virtually across-the-board enrollment increases are a positive sign for the college and the community."

Traditional-age and full-time students showed some of the most impressive gains. Enrollment in the 16-to-22-year-old age group increased 8 percent while first-time, full-time student enrollment rose 11 percent. Overall, first-time students increased 6 percent.

"Traditional and full-time students are really intersecting groups, so it´s not surprising that we´re seeing increases in these segments at the same time. This continues a trend that´s been four or five years in the making," said Dr. Richard Midcap, vice president for student success and enrollment services.

Dr. Kathy Barbour, vice president for academic services, said there are several reasons for these continuing trends.

"Students are increasingly looking to Chesapeake for the first two years of their baccalaureate education and for our broad range of allied health programs and other career fields," said Dr. Barbour. "More and more students in these areas are seeing Chesapeake as their first choice."

Strong retention rates for students who started in Fall 2006 also fueled the Spring 2007 enrollment boom.

"The college tracks eight major fall-to-spring retention indicators for both all students and minority students, with seven in each category focused on first-time students," said Joan Seitzer, dean of retention services. "The Spring 2007 retention rates in all those categories increased, with minority retention outpacing our retention rates for all students in every single category. Minority retention is an area where we´ve devoted considerable energy and resources, so those results are particularly exciting for us."

One retention indicator of particular significance, according to Seitzer, was the fall-to-spring retention rate of first-time, full-time minority males. The fall-to-spring retention rate for this group – the focus of a pilot case management project overseen by Student Success staff members Dana Bowser and Randy Holliday – increased from 47 percent in Spring 2006 to 85 percent in Spring 2007.

"We´re looking at the strategies Dana and Randy employed with this group to see if they can be employed with other segments of our student body," said Seitzer.

Some of the enrollment indicators that have been stagnant or even declined in recent years showed improvement in Spring 2007. Increases in male students (7 percent), part-time students (5 percent) and Cambridge Center registrations (8 percent) were all welcome signs, according to college officials.

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