Jan 2, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterCentral Wyoming College has experienced a decrease in students since reporting record-high enrollment for the 2010-11 school year.
The record head count was set at 2,700 students in 2010-11, with the number falling by 7.2 percent this year, to 2,516 students.
Martha Davey, CWC's associate vice president for academic services, said enrollment totals were higher in 2010 due to an increase in unemployment that drove many people to seek continued educational opportunities. But she said jobs had little to do with this year's decrease in students.
Instead, Davey said numbers are lower because Wyoming's pool of high school seniors is growing smaller.
"The number of high school seniors (is) declining and is projected to decline," Davey during the CWC Board of Trustees meeting in December. "But the good news is there is higher enrollment in K-9 in Wyoming now."
Fifty-six percent of CWC students are under age 25, Davey added, with 84 percent coming from Wyoming.
"So what happens to Wyoming graduation rates and numbers has an effect on our enrollment," she said.
College administrators have formed a committee that will focus on enrollment strategies for the future.
Davey said the group will look at ways to improve retention and completion statistics at the college, and it has already identified programs that could potentially accommodate more people. Committee members also have polled the student body to learn which classes are more popular in Riverton.
"We design comprehensive plans to recruit students for those targeted programs," Davey said.
More local faculty members will begin traveling to area high schools to make connections with potential students there, and Davey said she is analyzing data to make sure efforts at recruitment events pay off.
"We are determining whether or not we're yielding a positive return from those things," she said.
Fifty-seven percent of CWC students are female --higher than the statewide average of 55 percent. Eighty-five percent of CWC students are from Wyoming, with 57 percent coming from Fremont County. Two-thirds of CWC students are enrolled on a part-time basis. The student-faculty ratio at CWC is set at 20:1.
CWC continues to be the most ethnically diverse community college in the state, with 285 or 11 percent of students identifying themselves as American Indian or Alaskan. Overall, 22 percent of CWC students reported they are other than white, compared to the statewide average of 12.6 percent.
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