JOASH MENCIAS // NEWS EDITOR
The college has released new enrollment numbers last week showing a 9.4 percent increase in tenth day enrollment compared to last fall. 16,565 students were enrolled as full- time equivalents, up 7.6 percent for the fall term. Current enrollment is 28,627; however, the number was nearly 34,500 just 10 years ago. Other key figures show significant gains in targeted demographics like high school graduates are up 35 percent. The college also saw its largest number of high achieving scholar students with 97 Presidential Scholars total. As for minorities, the number of Hispanic students continued to increase by 21 percent compared to last year. In Asian and African American students, enrollment increased by 12 percent and six percent, respectively. According to college administration officials, the increases are a result of a barrage of changes in the past five years, including new programs like 3+1 degrees, a stronger marketing push, and extensive construction.
“Our whole program portfolio, our pricing, the people who sell all this by way of customer relations and the campus itself all contribute to this growth,” President of the College, Dr. Robert Breuder said. The newly released numbers also reveal an increase of students coming from outside of the district who now comprise nearly 10 percent of the total student population.
Earl Dowling, vice president for student affairs, attributes those numbers not only to the overall changes, but also to 3+1 degrees.
“The out-of-district students are primarily attracted by our 3+1 program,” Dowling said. “We’ve created something that has just been so significant to both our in district and out-of-district families. We’ve given them a way to earn a baccalaureate degree without ever leaving this campus, saving them from loan indebtedness and out of pocket costs.”
Dowling also connected other key demographic numbers to the college’s outreach campaigns. “We’re up in some of the individual markets we targeted. We’re very intentional about those numbers, those didn’t just happen by accident.” Overall, Dowling said the college has “the product, the price and the people” that makes the school appealing for so many families and thus increasing the enrollment numbers.
President Breuder also maintained that more students are choosing the college because of the school’s transformation being compared to four-year institutions.
“We look like the big players. And if you want to compete with them, you’ve got to look like them, act like them, perform like them. And obviously we must be, given the dramatic increase in our enrollment.”
In the end, President Breuder sees the enrollment numbers as just part of the continued effort to fulfill his vision for the college.
“This is a good report and we’re going to build on it,” Breuder said. “This is another stepping stone…COD isn’t going to remain static; it’s going to continue to change. And if we’re as good as we think we are, then we ought to be able to show that… And of course we have to deliver a quality product. We’re going to continue to do that and I suspect our enrollment will grow again next year.”