AACC will offer more eight-week classes this spring in an effort to increase enrollment.
According to Vice President for Learning Mike Gavin, enrollment this fall dropped 4 percent from the same semester last year.
Gavin said this is likely because Anne Arundel County has a low unemployment rate—about 4 percent.
When the economy is strong, he said, more people have jobs, so fewer of them enroll at AACC.
Increasing the number of eight-week classes will allow “students [to] take as many classes as they can,” Gavin said.
“[More eight-week classes] is a good idea, because they would attract more people to come here, because they could get their degree quicker and just be done,” first-year nursing student Hailey Gorman said.
“I don’t know if I would do it, because eight-week classes are more sped-up, but it’s good if you don’t want to be here long,” first-year biology student Paige Gorman said.
This proved successful last-year, when the college’s enrollment had dipped by 6 percent. It decreased to 3 percent after AACC added more eight-week winter classes.
However, Gavin said the dip in enrollment isn’t as significant as it is at Maryland’s other 15 community colleges.
Although he said he’s “not sure [low enrollment] will be a trend [at AACC],” Gavin reported that “all the community colleges in the state have been progressively declining in enrollment over the past six years.”
“We measure enrollment from July 1 to June 30. … I hope by June 30 we aren’t 4 percent down.”
Starting in spring 2019, the college will pack two eight-week sections of some classes into a single semester, so students can take two eight-week courses—one during the first eight weeks and one in the second—rather than taking one 15-week class—to earn six credits, Gavin said.
In combination with this, the college started running a data literacy program this fall to better train future mid-level managers on how to analyze data, which is a job that their bosses used to do.
Gavin said the college also will increase enrollment by creating a more effective and easier transfer process for students.
“We are engaging in constant conversations with four-year colleges to see if we attract students for a seamless transition from Anne Arundel to a four-year,” Gavin said.