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MCC sees slight enrollment drop

T-R PHOTOS BY TREVOR BABCOCK — IVCCD Chancellor Kristie Fisher tells the Board of Directors that enrollment will be a major topic of discussion heading into the future.

Enrollment is slightly down at Marshalltown Community College and the broader Iowa Valley Community College District this fall semester.

The Iowa Valley Community College Board of Directors reviewed a report on the numbers and demographics at its regular meeting Wednesday night. The information included enrollment status, gender, race, ethnicity, residency and age, and the report is sent to the district’s senior leadership and enrollment teams to make decisions on trends they see.

IVCCD Chancellor Kristie Fisher said that the report is a key piece of the puzzle with regard to the district’s long-term strategic goals.

“Enrollment is critical when we think of financials and sustainability,” Fisher said.

A total of 2,486 students are enrolled district-wide at IVCCD for the 2021 fall semester, an approximately 2.7 percent drop from last year. At Marshalltown Community College, a total of 1,758 students are enrolled, marking an approximately 3.4 percent decrease.

IVCCD Institutional Researcher Lisa Breja shares enrollment data with the IVCCD Board of Directors on Wednesday.

Fisher said enrollment will be a major theme and topic of discussion for at least the next three to five years at IVCCD.

“One thing we know is that we can’t continue to do what we’ve done before, because that is a decline,” Fisher said. “So we have to try new things and then find ways to test it, so we can make sure if something works we can magnify it. And if it doesn’t, then we can cut our losses and go the other way.”

One notable trend was the 5.7 percent drop in male students, which Fisher saw as a concern going forward.

“We are seeing a larger decline in the number of young male students within our colleges,” IVCCD Institutional Researcher Lisa Breja said. “That is a trend that is nationwide.”

Data also showed a 31 percent increase in Hispanic students district wide, but Breja wondered if it could have been skewed due to more students identifying their race and ethnicity. The number of Black/African American (down approximately 65 students) and American Indian students (down approximately 30) both dropped.

“Those are some areas that we may be looking into to try to determine why we’ve seen such a decline,” Breja said.

On the other hand, the district has seen a 19 percent enrollment increase in the 31 to 39-year-old age group.

“It’s not something we would have expected with such low unemployment,” Fisher said. “Usually, you see that group, when people can’t find work, you tend to see that group grow. So it’s counterintuitive to what you would expect.”

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Contact Trevor Babcock at 641-753-6611 or tbabcock@timesrepublican.com

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