Posted on December 15, 2022 at 12:00 PM by Monica Clark
Insights from This Fall’s Enrollment Report
The Iowa Department of Education recently released the Fall 2022 Community College Enrollment Report. While the headline was the first enrollment increase (.06 percent) since 2011, there are several other key insights to be gained from digging into the numbers.
Serving More Students of Color
This Fall, enrollment is up in nearly all categories of non-white students. This reflects the changing demographics of Iowa and our efforts to better support historically marginalized student populations. In particular, Hispanic students are up 7.3 percent. Many campuses in Iowa are seeing even higher numbers. In April, Marshalltown Community College was named an Emerging Hispanic Serving Institution (eHSI) because it has 15-24.9 percent of the student body identifying as Hispanic.
Part-Time Enrollment Hits New High
Part-time enrollment remained larger than full-time enrollment and reached a record high of 65.9 percent of total fall enrollment. This has been a recent trend related to student desire to work while attending college and the rise in joint enrollment, which sometimes means students do not need to take a full load because of credits already earned. This trend is the reason we successfully advocated earlier this year for part-time students to be eligible for the Last Dollar Scholarship. As a result of this change and other factors, student participation in this critical scholarship program is up 25.6 percent this year.
Joint Enrollment Continues to Grow
Joint Enrollment of high school students continues to grow statewide. The opening of new Career Academies and Regional Centers has allowed more students to access these opportunities, particularly in Career and Technical Programs.
Preparing the Workforce
Iowa’s Community Colleges continue to focus efforts on direct workforce preparation to meet demand from both employers and students. This Fall, Career and Technical Education (CTE) enrollment increased 3.2 percent in terms of students and even more in terms of courses and credit hours.
The career clusters for these programs give a window into the fields that are most attractive to students. This fall, the biggest increases were in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM); and Education and Training.
It’s crucial to note that while this report is important to understand the state of Iowa’s Community Colleges, it does not give a complete picture. Enrollment is only one factor we consider in understanding whether we are successfully achieving our mission. Factors like persistence and graduation can be even more telling. Additionally, Community Colleges have students enroll throughout the year and not just in the Fall, so it’s difficult to get even a full picture of enrollment from a Fall report alone.