Colorado Northwestern Community College saw a small dip in enrollment this semester.
The overall headcount decreased by 2 percent while the full-time equivalent enrollment fell 9 percent.
The rate reflects a national trend said Gene Bilodeau, vice president of the Craig campus. Across the country schools are seeing lower enrollment numbers because, with the improving economy, more people are getting jobs instead of going to school.
Yampa Valley Data Partners released unemployment numbers for Moffat and Routt counties last week, showing that more people are in fact getting jobs.
The unemployment rate in Moffat County dropped to 6.1 percent in July from 6.7 percent in June. Routt County saw a 10 percent dip in unemployment in July, logging a 5.6 percent unemployment rate compared with 6.6 percent in June.
“Such a large number of our students are non-traditional,” he said.
That means that they may forgo extra training if they don’t see a need. Bilodeau isn’t worried. The numbers are subject to change as the semester goes on when people register for trainings or when more high school students jump on concurrent enrollment classes.
“We’d be concerned if it was a continual trend,” Bioldeau said. “Typically, for us, we have to look at the whole academic year. We’ll see how we did at the end of this semester.”
The decrease isn’t extreme said Mindy Shue, former assistant registrar at CNCC as of Sept. 6.
“The headcount is slightly higher than we were expecting,” she said. “It’s a decrease, but a very slight decrease.”
There are misconceptions about the success of the campus said Robin Brumback, admin assistant to Bilodeau. Because it’s a non-traditional campus, few students attend during the day, which makes the hallways look pretty empty. But, she said, night classes are packed.
“If (community members) come up to the campus Monday through Thursday at night usually they’ll see a lot of people in between classes,” Brumback said.
The dynamic of the campus is a bit different this year, Shue said.
“There are fewer students who are taking more classes,” she said.
CNCC faces different challenges as a non-traditional school, but also opens up a lot of options for interested students, Brumback said.
“We have a lot of older people who are usually wanting to retrain for jobs or want to go back to school and finish something,” she said. They “want to go back to learn something: challenge themselves, I guess.”
Erin Fenner can be reached at 970-875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org