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Chesapeake College smashes opening-day record

Posted on Tuesday, February 02, 2010

WYE MILLS – Monday’s torrential rains were matched by a flood of students as Chesapeake College opened its Spring 2010 semester with multiple enrollment records.

The college had registered 2,823 students as of Monday morning, an all-time high that was 11 percent higher than last spring’s opening-day record of 2,554. Chesapeake also set a record for Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs), with the 819.93 FTEs accounting for a 15 percent increase over last spring’s record of 715.63.

Thirty credit hours equates to one FTE.

"This spring’s enrollment increase covers virtually every category of student," said Dr. Richard Midcap, vice president for student success and enrollment services. "We anticipated a large enrollment based on the huge increase we saw this past fall, but the spring increase is still larger than we anticipated."

Enrollment is up in all five of the college’s support counties, including double-digit increases in Caroline (13 percent) and Dorchester (11 percent) counties, and all age groups. Chesapeake also reported double-digit enrollment growth in full-time (18 percent), minority (17 percent), male (16 percent), and African American headcount (11 percent). First-time, full-time student headcount posted the largest gain of any category, with a 24 percent increase.

The college accomplished this growth – on the heels of 20 percent growth last summer and nine percent growth this past fall – with no increase in full-time faculty.

"We’ve had to increase class sizes and also bring in more part-time faculty to meet student needs," said Dr. Kathryn Barbour, vice president for academic affairs and economic development. "Our faculty has been very supportive of our efforts to meet increased demand."

Dean for Retention Services Joan Seitzer said that she noticed many students enrolling this semester after sitting out for years.

"We’ve seen so many students coming back after leaving semesters or even years ago. We usually see those students start back in the fall. It’s unusual to see them in the spring," Seitzer said.

One such student is Will Everett of Church Hill, who started classes again at Chesapeake after a three-year lapse. A liberal arts and sciences major, Everett quit college in 2007 to enter to the workforce.

"I finally realized that leaving school was a mistake. I knew I needed to come back, but I’ve been procrastinating. This year I’m determined to get started again," Everett said. "This is just a first step, but it’s an important one. I hope to finish my associate’s degree as soon as possible, and I’ll take as many classes as I can each semester. I don’t know if I’ll transfer and eventually get a bachelor’s degree, but I know at the very least, I need to finish my associate’s degree."

Students can continue to enroll through the first week of classes, and Midcap said the college could pass 2,900 students in one semester for the first time in the college’s 45-year history.


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