Friday, January 15, 2021

Council examines enrollment figures

The Plattsburgh State College Council met Monday in the Thomas and Marie Hermes Conference Room of Au Sable Hall to discuss the affairs facing the college.Decreasing enrollment rates was a topic of priority.

Provost and Vice President for Student Affairs Jake Liszka showed a slide show to help the other members of the council see the decline.

“Our enrollments have been declining considerably in the last several years,” Liszka said.

According to the presentation, fall 2012 saw a 6,167 enrolled graduates and undergraduate population, contrast to fall 2016 with a population of 5,520 students enrolled.

The presentation also offered reasons for the decline in enrollement. Since 2008, a 4.2 percent decrease of students who graduated high school decided to go to college, with many of them going off to trade schools or going right into the workforce.

“We are trying to get students into thinking about higher education,” Student Association President Michael Kimmer said.

The Student Association does this by inviting students from local high schools to visit the PSUC campus, and speaking to them of the importance of higher education.

This recent decline has also affected the local community college.With the decline in enrollment, there is also now a decline in transfer students, as it is a PSUC “feeder” school responsible for sending these students.

“As college gets more expensive for students, students are more interested to show interest in educations that will get them jobs,” Liszka said.

Particular programs, such as computer science are seeing a rise in student interest of up to 78 percent, while nursing is up 33 percent and accounting is up 26 percent. Bio chemistry is also up 23 percent. This is difficult because the amount of students wanting to study a select few majors cause the programs to fill up quickly, leaving those who aren’t accepted to find a different school.

Because of this, PSUC’s largest undergraduate program, teacher education, has seen a significant decrease in students interested. It is shown from 2010 when there was 858 students enrolled, to 2015 where only 416 students were enrolled, having a 51.5 percent decrease.

“If our enrollments in teacher education go up our problems would be solved,” PSUC President John Ettling said.

As a way to get students interested in the college, PSUC has created a scholarship to offer seniors of surrounding local high schools free tuition if they hold a 90 average at graduation. The college has also lessened their restriction on acceptance, such as lowering the minimum score for the SAT.

The council has sought advice from PSUC’s branch campus in Queensbury to help PSUC do raise numbers, as the decline in enrollment has not affected them.

“We could share some ideas, help out a little bit,” said soon to be council member Gloria Ragonetti.

Kimmer also mentioned how the Student Association talked about sending college students to high schools to talk to students about how to create good study habits, as well as the possibility of showing them some college materials from possible classes.

“I think it might be worth giving a shot,” Kimmer said.

Email Kiana Myers at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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