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Mesalands reports an increase in enrollment, persistence, and completion

August 24, 2015

Mesalands Community College recently unveiled the updated Enrollment Plan: Recruitment, Enrollment Tracking, Persistence, and Completion for 2015 at the Board of Trustees Meeting last week. This institution-wide Enrollment Plan is used to stabilize and improve enrollment, serve both the students and the community, and fulfill the mission and goals of the College. The Enrollment Plan indicated an increase in enrollment, persistence (retention), and graduation (completion) rates for the 2014-2015 academic year.

The Enrollment Plan at Mesalands is designed to bring the four major components of enrollment management together into one document, including recruitment, enrollment tracking, persistence, and completion. Persistence is the academic progression of students from one period to the next. Completion is the number of degrees and certificates awarded. The Enrollment Plan is a guide that defines the College’s initiatives and goals to improve these four components.

“It’s very important that we have a solid, effective Enrollment Plan that involves the entire College community,” said Dr. Aaron Kennedy, Vice President of Student Affairs at Mesalands Community College. “As a small institution, we rely on the concerted efforts and talents of our staff and faculty to achieve our goals, and ultimately promote student success.”

According to the College’s Enrollment Plan, student success is based on the four components of enrollment management. The first two components, recruitment and enrollment tracking, includes the College’s recruitment and marketing efforts to attract new and returning students to the institution.

For the 2014-2015 academic year, Mesalands reported a total of 13,184 credit hours, compared to 12,547 credit hours for the 2013-2014 academic year, an increase of five percent. For duplicated headcount, 1,888 students were enrolled in classes in 2014-2015 (summer, fall, spring), compared to 1,679 in the year prior, for a 12 percent increase. Mesalands also reported an eight percent increase in the annual full-time equivalent (FTE), the average annual full-time equivalent students in 2014-2015, compared to the 2012-2013 academic year.

The last two components of enrollment management, persistence and completion are essential for student success. The College has an obligation to retain students from semester-to-semester, and from year-to-year. As a result, this increases the student’s chance to obtain a college degree and/or a certificate.

The fall-to-fall persistence rate for full-time, degree-seeking students for 2013-2014 was 70.9 percent, versus 61.9 percent in 2012-2013. This is also higher than the New Mexico Independent Community College (NMICC) average of 56.2 percent.

For completion rates, Mesalands reported a 44 percent completion rate for Fall 2013-2014, compared to a 32 percent completion rate in Fall 2012-2013. The NMICC completion rate was 18 percent.

The Enrollment Plan also mentions that completion success is more than the number of degrees and certificates awarded, especially for community colleges. Completion success includes job placement and successful transfer to four-year institutions. According to the NMICC Accountability in Government Act Report for 2013, 79 percent of Mesalands graduates obtained employment or continued their education. The Enrollment Plan also defines success by helping students reach their individual goals. These goals may be to complete a course to improve their skills, complete their high school equivalency, or to prepare them for a bachelor’s program at a four-year institution.

“It is exciting that we are seeing a growth in enrollment, persistence, and completion, but more importantly, we are making a difference in the lives of our students,” said Dr. Thomas W. Newsom, President of Mesalands Community College. “Our top priority at Mesalands Community College is student success, and I want to thank our faculty and staff for making that happen.”