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Headed toward 3,000

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

WYE MILLS – Chesapeake College enrollment may reach 3,000 students this fall if current trends continue.

The Mid-Shore region´s community college, which starts its fall semester on August 23rd, opened Wednesday with 2,410 students enrolled for the fall. That total is 5.06 percent ahead of last year´s pace, when Chesapeake enrolled 2,856 students, a trend that would see the college enroll exactly 3,000 credit students this fall.

"While 3,000 is a nice, round number, that´s not really our goal," said Dr. Barbara Viniar, who is preparing for her third academic year as Chesapeake College´s president. "Our mission is providing the open access, academic programs and support services to ensure we are meeting the region´s post-secondary needs. That fact that enrollment continues to grow is an indicator that we are meeting the needs of an expanding student population."

The college is running even further ahead of last year´s pace in Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs), with 30 credit hours equating to one FTE. As of Wednesday morning, Chesapeake has registered 764.73 FTE, a 6.43 percent increase over the same point last summer. Between Fall 2004 and Fall 2009, Chesapeake´s FTE enrollment increased nearly 23 percent while setting new records each fall semester.

"We´ve had a long period of sustained enrollment growth," noted Dr. Richard Midcap, Chesapeake´s vice president for student success and enrollment services. "The interesting thing is that our growth continues to come predominantly from the same sources – full-time, traditional-age students right out of high school."

Nearly 44 percent of the students currently registered for the fall semester are full-time students, compared to 39 percent last fall. Almost 60 percent are under the age of 23, matching the under-23 segment of last fall´s class, according to Midcap, who said the average age of Chesapeake´s students declined from 28 in 2002 to 25 last fall.

Chesapeake is also seeing an increased percentage of minority students. Currently, nearly 24 percent of the incoming class is composed of minority students, compared to 22 percent last fall.

The college has sustained enrollment increases with little or no growth among staff and faculty positions, noted Dr. Viniar.

"I´m proud that despite budget constraints we are continuing to serve more students," she said. "It´s a tribute to our faculty and staff who have taken on expanded workloads to help us meet community needs."

Fall registration will continue through the first week of classes. For more information, Midcap said individuals should visit the college´s website (www.chesapeake.edu) or call the college at (410) 822-5400, 758-1537, or 228-4360.

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