ACC enrollment numbers climbed this fall

ALPENA — Dual enrollment was cited as the main reason enrollment climbed at Alpena Community College this fall.

“The semester began four weeks ago. The text here lays it out. We’re up considerably in head count. A lot of that has to do with our dual enrollment work we’re up 4.7 percent. Fourth highest in the state among our colleagues. We’re back over 1,600 students for the first time since 2014,” said ACC President Don MacMaster.

There are other places that have struggled this year, he said.

“I’m glad we’re not in that group. Credit hours down 2.3 percent from fall of last year. You’ll recall we budgeted down to be 3 percent. So we’re about $42,000 to the good,” MacMaster said.

This is compared to Wayne County Community College District, Lake Michigan College and West Shore Community College which are all down 10 percent in both head count and credit hours.

He said they’ve competed hard in dual enrollment, though they’re not full time students.

“I think we need to continue to compete hard in dual enrollment. That will be the way forward for us,” MacMaster said.

Board Treasurer Joe Gentry asked if there was any reason why the new first time student figure was down so much (it was down by 16.5 percent).

MacMaster said dual enrollment and early college will detract from that figure.

Board President John Briggs said another reason credit hours may be down is because the job market is strong.

MacMaster said it could be a factor.

“We remain very strong in Alcona; in Alpena. Basically we’ve got a lot of dual enrollment in the 16 K-12 we work with. A quarter of our students are dual enrollment. That’s not counting early college. You can look at that as a sobering reality. Or, I just see it as action on the ground. We have to keep competing. But that’s where we are,” MacMaster said.

Jordan Spence can be reached via email at jspence@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687.