Fall enrollment increases at Colorado Mountain College
EAGLE COUNTY — Kimberly Vega’s first good experience with Colorado Mountain College was through the faculty who taught her concurrent enrollment classes when she was a student at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale.
“The teachers had a big impact on me,” said Vega, who is now a second-year student focused on earning a Bachelor of Science in business administration at CMC.
The beauty of the campus at Spring Valley continually surprises her — “it changes dramatically every season” — but the biggest surprise was the diversity she found on campus.
“Everybody expects that students at CMC are just local, but there are so many people from different places,” she said. “It’s weird if you find a local.”
This fall, more students are learning what Vega has learned. Preliminary enrollment figures show that the student body is increasing, students are taking more classes and the college is becoming more diverse.
Throughout CMC’s service area, which covers a mountainous area the size of Maryland, the number of students attending increased 3.4 percent, powered by a substantial increase in full-time students 23 years of age and younger.
Compared to the same point during fall semester last year, the number of individual students has increased at nearly every physical campus, though online learning has slightly decreased. On average, students are taking more credits at all campuses, especially traditional-aged college students.
Moreover, compared with the same time last fall, preliminary enrollment measurements show an increase of 18.5 percent more Latino and Hispanic students who are 18 or 19 years old, and many more of these students are enrolled full-time compared to earlier years.
Also, full-time equivalent enrollment of students from outside of Colorado increased 8.2 percent compared to last year. This full-time equivalent measure of enrollment looks at the number of credits students take, as well as the number of individual students.
Enrollment information is being shared with faculty and staff at all of the college’s campuses throughout September. President Carrie Besnette Hauser, COO and Chief of Staff Matt Gianneschi, General Counsel Richard Gonzales, Marketing Director Doug Stewart and others have been on the road, sharing information and having conversations in employee Town Hall meetings. Among the other topics covered have been progress made on the college’s strategic plan, training for Title IX compliance and upcoming benefits enrollment.
Importantly, final enrollment numbers won’t be available until later in the year due to a number of courses that start late in the semester.
“Because we have many late-start and short courses, our official enrollment data won’t be available until after the end of fall semester,” said Lin Stickler, the college’s vice president for student affairs. “But these preliminary data are a snapshot in time and help us know how to adjust our focus to meet students’ needs.”
Hauser attributes some of the increased enrollments to intentional, strategic initiatives at the college.
“We believe that certain measures we have taken over the past year have prompted some of these enrollment increases,” she said.
For instance last spring, the college offered a $1,000 President’s Scholarship to all graduating high school seniors within the college’s service area. CMC administrators are now working more closely with local school districts on concurrent enrollment courses, in which high school students can earn college credit. College staff have also streamlined registration and have become more involved in Western Slope college fairs.
“Our board of trustees is excited to see the outcome following discussions we’ve had over the past several years,” said Glenn Davis, president of the Colorado Mountain College board of trustees. “We’ve developed tuition and other strategies that support the college’s vision to become more innovative and inclusive, and we are starting to see results. It’s heartening to see that so many more students are discovering the unique gem that is CMC.”
And like business student Kimberly Vega, those incoming students will learn of the benefits of attending Colorado Mountain College, including engaged, knowledgeable faculty.
“They really care about their students’ academic success,” she said.