Petoskey's North Central Michigan College sees enrollment increase
Students at North Central Michigan College enrolled in about 1,000 more credit hours this semester, compared to a year ago.
The college said it’s the largest increase among Michigan community colleges. And the increase defies national trends as college enrollment continues to decline.
NCMC Registrar Joe Balinski said it probably has to do with new athletics programs and housing initiatives.
The college has had club sports programs for a while now, but North Central was granted membership in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) in 2021 and the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Region 12, Division II.
Balinski said many of those new students are college athletes — drawn to the school since it joined the competitive conference and required to take a heavier course load.
“The athletics program has brought a unique group of students to campus, some from inside our district, but many are from outside of the district,” he said. “They have to be full-time students. So that increases our tuition hours and credit hours.”
Another large factor, Balinski said, is the housing market in the region — it's expensive.
As local rentals and the cost of commuting increase, dorm life has become a more viable option for students, Balinski said, adding that students who live on-campus are more likely to take more credit hours.
“Our campus housing seems to be more competitive and more affordable for students,” he said.
Total enrollment increased only slightly — by six students.
The college’s full-time equivalent (FTE), which aggregates part-time students into full-time students, also increased by 8.56 percent, or 67 students, according to a press release.
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