UACCM Sees Growing Enrollment, Bucking National Trends

students walking on a campus sidewalk

Over the last year, the pandemic has shed light on the value of online learning—especially the empowerment to give students the choice to log on or attend in person.

As a result, the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton surpassed spring 2020 enrollment, thanks to an increase of students seeking degrees that seamlessly transfer to a university.

The enrollment growth amounted to a one student increase over last year. It may not sound like a lot but, according to the National Student Clearinghouse, enrollment at community colleges dropped 10% from fall 2019 to fall 2020.

In announcing the enrollment increase, UACCM Chancellor Lisa Willenberg cited a policy that emphasized flexibility as the primary reason of the college bucking state and national trends.

“I truly believe the combined efforts of virtual testing and advising students, where they were during last year’s spring, summer, and fall, along with giving them multiple options had a favorable impact on our enrollment without the need to limit course numbers,” Willenberg said. “Options included a return to campus, synchronous attendance, as well as online or a combination of the three.”

Included in the college’s reopening guidelines, UACCM emphasized flexibility by offering students the opportunity to take eligible classes synchronously. This gives some the chance to attend virtually at home at the same time, while their classmates and instructors are on campus. Students can decide on a day-to-day basis how to attend.

According to the enrollment data, an increase of students seeking transfer degrees aided in UACCM’s steady enrollment. A large share of full time students among the college population also resulted in more students taking more credit hours. In the spring 2021 semester, 56 percent of students were considered full-time status.

The college also credited its steady enrollment to a continued influx of students from Faulkner County, who make up 40 percent of the college’s students. Since 2017, there has also been a steady growth of students from Conway County, the college’s home county, a 12 percent increase since 2017.

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