COA enrollment up from last year
By Reggie Ponder
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Fall enrollment at College of The Albemarle is up from last year, with a surge in the number of high school students taking college courses at COA offsetting a slight decline in the number of traditional community college students.
The information was part of a report presented to the COA Board of Trustees Tuesday at its regular meeting. Lynn Hurdle-Winslow, the college’s vice president of student success and enrollment management, presented the report.
Last year’s final fall enrollment was 2,404 students and this year’s total already is at 2,490.
“I’m happy to report enrollment is up,” Hurdle-Winslow told trustees.
She added that she hopes full-time equivalency also will be up. COA staff currently are estimating a higher FTE than last year. FTE accounts for the number of courses being taken by both full-time and part-time students and translates that into the number of full-time courseloads those courses represent. FTE is an important figure for community colleges because it is used as a basis for state funding.
As of Tuesday there were 1,538 regular students enrolled at COA for fall classes and 952 high school students taking classes at COA as part of the state’s Career and College Promise program, which covers tuition costs for college courses earned by students who are enrolled in high school.
The Career and College Promise enrollment represents a 36.58 percent increase over last fall’s 697, while the traditional student enrollment represents a 9.9 percent decline from last fall’s 1,707.
COA officials noted that the final fall numbers likely will be higher since some classes don’t start until later.
President Robert Wynegar said he hopes the college will begin to “convert” more of the Career and College Promise students to associate degree students. Many of those students now take about a year’s worth of college courses at COA and then transfer directly to a university after their high school graduation. Wynegar said he would like to see more students completing a second year of college work at COA before transferring.
Coleen Santa Ana, a COA trustee and president of Sentara Albemarle Medical Center, said she was glad to see the college looking more closely at enrollment data and hopes to see an even closer look. She said the close scrutiny is necessary that the college is offering the right programs and that its staffing levels and program offerings are the right size.
Wynegar said taking that kind of close look at data is one of his major areas of focus for the coming year.