NWACC reports declining fall enrollment

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,034 views 

NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) in Bentonville announced an unofficial preliminary count of 7,583 college-credit students enrolled on Tuesday (Sept. 8), the 11th day of classes for the 2020 fall semester. This figure represents a 12% decrease when compared to the 2019 fall semester 11th-day unofficial count of 8,649.

The 11th-day numbers only reflect students who are taking courses for college credit. In addition to credit enrollment, the college also serves approximately 4,000 additional learners through workforce development, adult education and other career-credit programs.

One career-credit program, in particular, experienced a large increase: 189 career-credit students enrolled in the Certified Retail Analyst program, a 105% increase when compared to fall 2019’s number of 89.

“In early summer, we made the decision to prioritize the safety of our students, faculty and staff. We optimistically and aggressively pursued an enrollment goal that was aligned with a newly formatted schedule to ensure our college community remained safe. Although our enrollment is lower than last year, what I am most pleased about is our ability to connect with and register over 7,500 students while keeping everyone safe. I applaud the combined efforts of our team to adapt to the changing environment, while helping students pursue higher education,” said Vice President of Student Services Dr. Todd Kitchens.

Kitchens said it’s also important to note this initial snapshot does not reflect the additional student registrations the college anticipates receiving for its 12-week and 8-week sessions slated to begin next week.

“We will continue working to refine our processes and help students feel safe enough to not put their education on hold due to COVID-19,” Kitchens added.

The total enrollment figure and other numbers cited for the 2020 fall semester are preliminary, unofficial numbers. The total enrollment figure typically may include some numbers that 11th-day enrollment numbers provided to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education do not, such as students who may be auditing a class or who are enrolled in “late start” classes that begin after the traditional 16-week term kicks off.