Credit Hour Enrollment Up 10 Percent, Headcount Up 2 Percent
Southeastern Illinois College’s current enrollment figures represent an increase of 10 percent in full-time equivalency (FTE) over the 2012 spring semester. FTE is the total number of credit hours generated by student enrollment.
In addition, student head count, including part-time and full-time, is up 2 percent from last spring, with 2097 students currently attending Southeastern. Full-time enrollment numbers show an increase of over 150 students.
“The increased enrollment is a result of a total team effort,” said college president Dr. Jonah Rice. “I believe much of the increase is due in part from our work on retention from the fall term to this spring. I couldn’t be more happy for the hard work from our staff and the benefits of higher education for our students.”
According to enrollment services, this and a number of other reasons seem to account for the college’s spike in enrollment.
More part-time students appear to have converted to full-time, allowing them to get their degrees or certificates faster to become more employable more quickly. Too, the college’s retention efforts and “students-first” philosophy have intensified, keeping more students from semester to semester by staying more connected and focused on degree and certificate completion.
Success in the latter was demonstrated recently when SIC was notified by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), a component of the National Center for Education Statistics, that its graduation rates and on-time graduation rates ranked higher than colleges of similar size in the region.
Online classes are another factor in SIC’s recent enrollment surge. Records show a 7 percent increase in online enrollment compared to last spring. The convenience of online classes for the working student, as well as the cost savings in travel, is an attractive alternative to the traditional classroom, especially when the quality of education remains the same.
Veteran enrollment is also up a whopping 30 percent over last spring. As a military friendly school, so named by GI Jobs Magazine, Southeastern has a variety of special veteran benefits and assistance to aid veterans in the transition to college.
In addition, SIC has worked aggressively to provide more efficient and faster registration. This, coupled with an increase in private scholarships from the SIC Foundation and local communities, helps make education more affordable and more sustainable.
Chad Flannery, dean for student services and enrollment at SIC, also sees a human factor pushing the increases.“Enrollment is always a much bigger picture than it seems, as a number of institutional aspects factor in and work together in concert. As a college, we must always cultivate these various aspects, always emphasizing and highlighting the desire to meet human needs.”
Flannery noted that other things are in place to sustain a climate for enrollment growth, including the college’s low tuition rate of $88 per credit hour, the more than 120 programs to fit students’ career interests, a large selection of clubs and extracurricular activities, and several nationally-ranked competitive teams.
Rice concluded by praising the college’s board of trustees for its part in the recent enrollment success. “The board is very student-centered, and that student-first philosophy is coming to fruition. I think more and more students and parents see the value of our triple A policy of affordability, accessibility, and accountability. That policy is so very attractive in these tough economic times.”