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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Dual enrollment helps bump DCC's spring enrollment numbers

By Jamie Ausk Crisafulli

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

Dual enrollment agreements between Dawson Community College and two area high schools are already having a positive impact on enrollment numbers at Dawson Community College.

This year’s spring enrollment full-time equivalent (FTE) at DCC is 228.27, up 12 FTE from the fall semester. The number is also the highest spring enrollment number in the past three years, according to information released by the college last week.

The number of students  who are taking classes, also known as the institution’s headcount, also increased. Last fall, 294 students were taking classes at DCC. This spring 335 students are registered at DCC.

This semester the college has 73 dual enrollment students. Fifty of those are from Dawson County High School, where dual enrollment through DCC was available for the first time this year.

DCC also reached an agreement with Glasgow Schools to offer dual enrollment this spring, which resulted in 15 dual enrollment students for DCC this semester. 

“I am excited about the spring 2017 increase,” DCC President Scott Mickelsen said in an email Friday, noting that the increase is a result of “great dual credit partners.”

Dual enrollment courses are taught at a high school by high school staff who have credentials required to teach college courses. Students earn high school and college credits for the same class.

One FTE equals 15 credit hours. Based on the fact that most dual credit classes are three credits, it takes five dual enrollment students to make one FTE student.

While a large portion of the increase in enrollment can be credited to the new dual enrollment agreements, there are other factors bringing enrollment up at DCC as well, according to DCC Enrollment Management Director Suela Cela.

New college employees, like head baseball coach Chris Lewis, have brought with them a new pool of students from which the college can recruit, noted Sela.

That, along with the college’s focused efforts to encourage Montana students to consider DCC, have paid off.

“We have worked hard to recruit in-state students,” she added.

Bumping up enrollment numbers continues to be a major focus of the college. 

“We are entering a new era with recruitment,” said Mickelsen. He said the college has a “larger focus on Montana while implementing new ideas that give greater access to higher education.”

While DCC’s summer enrollment was the highest in five years, the college saw another dip in enrollment last fall. The spring numbers were a welcome turnaround.

“Usually colleges experience a decrease (in enrollment) from fall to spring, yet for DCC we are growing,” Cela said. “I am very happy with the results, we have an 8 percent increase in FTE from last spring to this spring.”

Reach Jamie Ausk Crisafulli at rreditor@rangerreview.com.

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