CNCC enrollment increase highest in system

— Enrollment at Colorado Northwestern Community College is on the rise, school officials reported Monday.

The number of full-time credits taken at the college increased by 14.2 percent from last year, the school reported in a press release. The Craig campus saw slightly more growth than the college as a whole - a 14.5 percent increase from last year, CNCC President John Boyd said.

The growth set the college apart from other institutions in the Colorado Community College System, which serves more than 116,000 students per year.

"As of today, we have the highest percentage of increase (compared to last fall) in the System," Boyd wrote to CNCC faculty, staff and board members.

The increase was measured in full time equivalency the amount of full-time course loads taken by its students. Thirty credit hours taken equals one FTE.

This figure is a more reliable measure of a college's growth than enrollment numbers because it measures the academic activity of its students, the president said.

FTE "shows how busy you are," Boyd said.

FTE also is the measure by which the state government grants funds to community colleges.

Currently, CNCC has 375.4 FTE.

"When FTE is up, you're in good shape," Boyd's assistant Becky Dubbert said.

The president attributes the college's growth to new educational programs, including an industrial electrician and massage therapy courses.

More efficient recruiting techniques, a larger recruiting staff and "continued marketing efforts" also contributed to the enrollment increase, Boyd said.

"We're better organized in our recruiting efforts," he said. "Across the board we're doing a better job."

Overall, the Colorado Community College System registered a 4.2 percent increase in enrollment from last year, CCCS spokeswoman Rhonda Bentz said. She attributes the growth to the needs of employers.

"Companies need a trained work force," Bentz said. The flexible schedules offered by community colleges allow their employees to gain the education they need, she added.

The enrollment increase comes after several years of declining enrollment, Boyd said.

Construction of student dorm facilities remains one of several strategies the college hopes to implement to maintain enrollment growth.

"At this point, we've just about filled up our Rangely dorms," he said. If student dorms were constructed at the Craig campus, "enrollment in Craig will really jump," Boyd said.

Bridget Manley can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or bmanley@craigdailypress.com

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