MCC Enrollment on the Rise

Dontae Parsons-Love, Contributing Writer

Muskegon Community College student enrollment numbers are finally on the rise again, after a previous stretch of falling enrollment.

According to Aaron Richman, registrar of MCC, the total student headcount for the Fall 2021 semester is up 7.8 percent compared to last year. In recent years, there had been a steady decline in student headcount numbers with 4,000 students being enrolled in the Fall 2019 semester and then roughly 3,400 students being enrolled in the Fall 2020 semester, a seven-year low for MCC.

In addition to the rising student population numbers, MCC has changed the way many classes were offered in previous semester.

According to Richman, 32 percent of Fall 2021 classes are in person compared to a much lower 14 percent in Fall 2020. Additionally, 18 percent of Fall 2021 classes are hybrid (in-person and online), compared to 8 percent in Fall 2020. Only 50 percent of classes are fully online, compared to 79 percent in Fall 2020.

As class format options are changing, so are the number of students taking each type of course. The number of students taking face-to-face classes has increased as more face-to-face options have been offered. This semester, 43 percent of students enrolled are currently taking at least one face-to-face course, compared to 18 percent last fall. The number of students taking hybrid courses has also increased from 17 percent of students who were enrolled, taking at least one hybrid class in Fall 2020, to 30 percent of students who are currently enrolled taking at least one hybrid class. To no surprise, the number of students taking fully online classes has decreased from 88 percent of students enrolled taking at least one online class to 83 percent this semester.

The State of Michigan’s Futures for Frontliners scholarship and Michigan reconnect programs have been a significant contributor to MCC’s new influx of students. According to Sally Birkam, Dean of Student Success and Campus Life, these programs have brought an influx of past and returning students who were enrolled at MCC in previous years. “The pandemic caused people to rethink or start to think about their futures, so we are getting more students that want to change career fields or pick up another credential,” said Birkam. “Many students prefer face-to-face/on-campus classes.”

Birkam hopes The Future for Frontliners scholarship and the Michigan Reconnect programs will continue to be major attractions for students to enroll at MCC.

“If the state of Michigan continues to fund the Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect programs, we hope that the students who have come to MCC for these programs will continue their enrollment for the next year or two as they are finishing their degrees,” said Birkam. “Our hope is that this plan will enable us to recruit and retain students as effectively as possible in the coming years.”