Community college's student body expands

Tuition buy down, new classes cited as reason for increased fall semester enrollment

The higher education system in Moffat County is seeing a higher number of students this year, as Colorado Northwest Community College (CNCC) begins its fall semester.

Though most students have not yet started classes that begin later in the semester, just comparing this year's beginning to last year's shows a marked growth.

"We are seeing a significant increase," CNCC Vice President Dean Hollenbeck said. "If you compare today with the same date last year, we have 16 and a half more FTE's than last year. That translates to about 50 to 60 more students for CNCC."

The total enrollment for the 2001 fall semester has not been calculated.

An FTE is a Full Time Equivalent student. The college calculates a Full Time Equivalent student using the number of credit hours being taken at the facility. Thirty credit hours equals one FTE.

Hollenbeck thinks the late starting classes will further improve CNCC's enrollment, and by the end of the academic year there will be further growth in the number of students.

Along with the tuition buy-down, new opportunities at CNCC have driven this increase, Hollenbeck said.

"Our private pilot and flight instruction programs are doing real well, and people are excited. We have an airplane here now, an office and computers, and we have people that have to wait for the spring semester before they can sign up," he said. "Our cosmetology program appears it will be ready for January I'm not sure, but I can guess that that new program will have another positive impact on our enrollment numbers.

"In fire sciences, our wildland fire training will begin later this fall, and firefighting I and II we also hope to have for January, which we feel is another strong addition to the quality programs we offer at CNCC."

Other classes have been filled close to the maximum, or have seen demand that requires some students to wait until next semester to enroll because the course is completely full. The anatomy and physiology course was forced to move to a new location because of the class size, according to Gene Bilodeau, associate dean of learner instruction and support services at CNCC.

"We feel good, and are excited about what's happening here at CNCC," Hollenbeck said. "We have people coming in, and as people come, take one class, get involved and then take two or three, their involvement snowballs. We hope that is the case, and we feel it will be.

"We are the best buy in the state of Colorado for higher education, and the quality of our core programs, and the quality of our faculty and staff, are very high."

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