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Chesapeake College posts 20% summer gain

Friday, August 14, 2009

WYE MILLS – Chesapeake College officials continue to deal with an enrollment surge that is producing record numbers and difficult space issues.

The college finished its Summer 2009 semester with a 20 percent increase in Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs) and an 18 percent increase in headcount. (Every 30 credit hours taken by students equates to an FTE, with FTEs serving as the basis for state funding.) And the surge appears likely to be repeated this fall based upon current enrollment data.

As of Monday morning, the college had enrolled 2,387 students accounting for 742.80 FTE. That represents a 10 percent increase in FTE and 8.1 percent gain in headcount compared to the same point last year. Fall classes begin August 24th.

The college is dealing with this enrollment surge at the same time that the Kent Humanities Building is closed for a yearlong renovation.

"We knew we’d be dealing with both issues this year – a predicted enrollment surge and a decline in available classroom space," said Chesapeake College President Dr. Barbara Viniar. "The Kent Humanities Building housed almost 40 percent of our on-campus credit classes, so we had to make use of every available space on campus for classroom space for the upcoming year."

The college enters the fall semester with all of its full-time faculty positions filled for the first time in four years, which Dr. Viniar said is a huge help in trying to accommodate the enrollment increase. Chesapeake officials also raised the maximum number of students for most classes by two-to-three students as another strategy to address increased enrollment demand.

"In spite of the crunch we are working to accommodate every student ready to start at Chesapeake this fall," said Dr. Viniar.

Dr. Richard Midcap, the college’s vice president for student success and enrollment services, said the enrollment surge is being driven by an increase in full-time, traditional-age students right out of high school.

"We look to be younger with a higher percentage of full-time students this fall," said Dr. Midcap. "This is really a continuation of a trend that’s been driving our enrollment increases over the past four or five years."

The huge surge in summer enrollment easily smashed the college record for summer sessions. The college enrolled 762 students, representing 102 FTE. Enrollment gains were recorded in all five of the college’s support counties, ranging from 4 percent in Caroline County to 68 percent in Kent County. Enrollment from out-of-area students also increased 70 percent, according to official enrollment records.

Enrollment among students 29-and-under increased 26 percent in Summer 2009, including a 33 percent increase in students age 23-to-29. Minority enrollment increased 19 percent.

Students interested in registering for the Fall 2009 semester may do so in person at the Wye Mills and Cambridge campuses from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Fridays. A real-time schedule of classes with available class spots may be accessed at www.chesapeake.edu by clicking on the right-hand button called "Search for Sections." Students eligible for online registration may do so through the college’s website.

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