RCCC sees 2.6 percent decline in enrollment

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 16, 2011

By Nathan Hardin
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College saw a 2.6 percent decline in enrollment on Monday, the first day of classes for students.
Paula Dibley, public information officer, initially expected the decline to be about 4.5 percent, but a late push in class registrations helped lessen the decrease.
Paula reported this year’s enrollment so far to be 6,623 students. Last year at this time, the college had just shy of 6,800 enrollees.
“It’s not really all that surprising,” Dibley said.
Dibley said the recent tuition increase approved by the N.C. General Assembly may have affected the enrollment numbers.
It “raised tuition by $10 per credit hour,” Dibley said.
According to Dibley, RCCC has seen a 52 percent increase over the last four years.
Dibley said the enrollment decline may not end up at 2.6 percent, because the school has not added enrollment numbers from the college’s basic law enforcement training program, the dual-enrollment program and the two-day drop/add period.
Dibley said the school will launch a “renewed effort on recruitment and make sure people know we’re an option.”
RCCC isn’t the only community college to see decreased enrollment, Dibley said.
“It’s not just us,”she said.
The campus was filled with students of varying ages and experience on Monday.
Kelly Menius, a first-year student, said she was nervous to start her first college class. “I don’t know if excitement has come into play yet.”
Menius, a recent South Rowan graduate, said she’s using RCCC as a platform for transferring into a university.
“It’s cheap,” Menius said, “and they have a good transfer program.”
Menius plans to get a degree in early childhood education and was “aggravated” because of the line into the campus bookstore.
“The prices are ridiculous,” she said. “I bought three books for $295.”
Several students on campus said they were driven to RCCC by the poor economy.
“The economy’s bad,” second-year student Greg Crawford said. “There’s no more plan Bs.”
Crawford, 33, said, for him, succeeding is the only plan left.
“It’s better to go back to school right now,” he said. “Some of these classes will get you into an internship.”
Other students said the college’s location makes it easy for continued education.
Kyra Murray, a third-year student, said she began going to RCCC so she could stay at home.
Murray, a medical office administration student, said her mother was diabetic and that she didn’t want to move too far away from home.
Rasheed Hasan, a second-year student, said he plans to use the college’s business program to help him start his own business.
“I want to continue my education and better myself so I can start my own business one day,” Hasan said.
Hasan, 27, said he’s tried to find a job, but can’t, and that he’s increasing his education to help afford his four children.
“I’ve been trying to find a job,” Hasan said. “I just can’t. The economy’s at a stand-still. It’s rough out here.”