Sauk enrollment continues to dip, some programs see growth
DIXON – Enrollment at Sauk Valley Community College continues to dip in a 5-year decline, but the college is seeing growth in some new programs.
Enrollment is down 80 students, from 1,975 to 1,895, which is a 4 percent decrease from last year.
That translates to a 4.7 percent dip in the number of credit hours students are taking, down 837 hours, but there shouldn’t be a hit to enrollment revenue, said Steve Nunez, vice president of academics and student services.
The Sauk Board approved a tuition increase of $5 a credit hour for this year, to $139, to help offset the enrollment decline.
Nunez said a growing economy is usually the main reason colleges see a dip in enrollment, and Sauk is focusing on recruiting more students for specific programs that will help funnel them into the workforce.
“More people are working and less are going back to school,” he said.
Enrollment in the school’s Multicraft Extended Internship Program is up 21 students, or 3.9 percent increase, for a total of 558.
The program, created in partnership with several area industries, gives students the chance to gain work experience, and get paid, while earning their associate’s degree in the classroom and on the job site.
“We’ve really focused on the multicraft program,” Nunez said.
Sauk also saw 6 percent growth in the number of students who enrolled immediately out of high school, from 315 last year to 334 this year.
“There are students who are committed to a career right after school, and those who have picked a 4-year university to go to, so we’ve ramped up our recruiting efforts to get students who don’t know what they want to do yet,” Nunez said.
The number of former Whiteside Area Career Center students attending Sauk also is up 8.1 percent.
“We want to be the place to extend the education students get at WACC. They can go right into the workforce after attending WACC, but they can come here and get a degree or certificate and get a higher-paying job,” Nunez said.
The college added three certificates this year with the Early Childhood Education: Foundations of Infant Toddler Care, UAS/Drone Pilot and Truck Driving Entrepreneurship.
The college also got rid of its Fire Science degree, merged the Office and Administrative Services degrees with Information Systems, and inactivated the Criminal Justice: Justice Affairs program, meaning that the program is still around but not currently open to students.
The college also saw a 2.6 percent growth in its online enrollment by offering more coursework and a 8 percent growth in student athletes after hiring a full-time athletic director, Michael Stevenson, to promote the program.