October 23, 2014

Southeast Community College sees double-digit decline in enrollment

It is unfamiliar territory for Southeast Community College; a double-digit decline in the latest official enrollment report.

Numbers released to Southeast’s Board of Governors show second quarter enrollment is down 12.43%, down 10.3% for the first two quarters of the year.

Southeast Community College President Jack Huck tried to assure members of the board that the drop isn’t unique to Southeast.

“I don’t want to feel badly either that this is different than the rest of the state or the rest of the country. Trend lines are down across the country. If you look at enrollment across the country, enrollment at community colleges is down,” Huck told the board.

Huck said other Nebraska two-year colleges haven’t reported enrollment numbers yet, but other presidents have told them they’re experiencing the same problems.

“I do know their CEOs are telling me they are having similar experiences. I can’t tell you the exact numbers, though,” Huck said. “So, we’re not different than the rest of the world, not good, bad or otherwise, but we’re just a part of that trend.”

Huck told the Board of Governors a lower overall number of high school graduates seems to be the culprit.

“Because, you have to remember, everybody else is trying to get their share, also. So, it is becoming a very competitive market,” according to Huck. “This may be the most competitive post-secondary market I’ve witnessed since I’ve been in this position.”

Second quarter full-time credit class enrollment at SCC is 2,556, down from the 2,930 full-time students for the same period a year ago. For the first two quarters of the year, enrollment is 4,336, compared with 4,834 for last year’s first two quarters.

The largest percentage declines, over 20%, are being seen in business classes and continuing education.

By Doug Kennedy, KWBE