CVTC enrollment shrinking to pre-recession levels

June 25, 2013

From leadertelegram.com: “CVTC enrollment shrinking to pre-recession levels” — By Andrew Dowd – After the Great Recession helped boost enrollment at Chippewa Valley Technical College as unemployed workers sought retraining for new jobs, student numbers are declining as the economy has improved.

Following a peak in spring 2011, enrollment fell in the past two years, and CVTC’s new budget forecasts it will decrease slightly in the upcoming academic year.

President Bruce Barker referred to the enrollment trend as “returning to pre-recession” levels, but still higher than the college’s numbers in the early 2000s.

Enrollment spiked in spring 2008 and 2011, reaching 4,623 and 4,720 full-time equivalent students, respectively. (CVTC measures its enrollment in full-time equivalency, where one student equals a full-time student or a few part-time ones that combine to equal a 15-credit course load.) Next year’s enrollment is projected at 4,300, a slight drop from the 4,340 full-time equivalent students that attended this spring.

Smaller high school graduating classes also are figuring into the decline.

“What we’re seeing is a smaller number of high graduates that the technical college is competing for as new enrollees in higher education,” CVTC spokesman Mark Gunderman said.

High school senior classes will decline 5 percent by 2019 in the technical college’s district, according to a forecast from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

Tuition is going up by 4.5 percent next year at all Wisconsin public technical colleges, but CVTC is expecting to see a 1 percent decline in its tuition revenue because of the declining enrollment.

“The individual’s cost is going up, but total revenue is down,” Barker said.

Tuition contributed $16.32 million for CVTC’s 2012-13 budget, but is expected to fall to $16.08 million next year.

Four-year universities and colleges also are coping with the same decline in graduating high school numbers, Gunderman noted. However, technical colleges have a larger proportion of nontraditional students who work full time, raise a family or both while attending college.

To that end, CVTC is enhancing its catalog of eight-week classes geared toward working students that would have a more difficult time taking a regular 16-week course.

 

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