Enrollment at DCC up 54% in five years

Jamie Ausk Crisafulli
Thursday, September 30, 2021
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Dawson Community College enrollment was anticipated to continue to increase this fall, and the actual numbers did not disappoint.

Interim DCC President Kathleen O’Leary in her first board meeting in that position was able to share the positive news with board members on Monday.

“Truly the numbers are staggering. When you think about how difficult the last year was, to see any increase at all really says something about the staff here on campus and how hard they worked to create an environment that students would come back to and new students would venture in our doors,” O’Leary said.

Fall semester full-time equivalency at DCC was 332.1 on Sept. 15 this year, a 13% increase over last fall and a 54% increase in five years.

Full-time equivalency (FTE) is a calculation indicating full-time student count based on credits taken. The Montana University System counts 15 credits taken as 1 FTE.

With a total of 455 students registered for classes this fall, the college experienced a 19% increase in overall student headcount from the 2020 count date. The current enrollment headcount is a 55% increase over five years.

The numbers shared were official Census Day numbers used in enrollment reporting for the Montana Universities System. Census Day is the 15th day of instruction each semester in which colleges and universities in Montana report net enrollment.

O’Leary added the increase in the number of students is especially noteworthy in a time when the state’s job market is strained.

“That isn’t normally a time when you see growth in numbers especially in two-year schools because a lot of people go right into the workforce without heading to get additional training,” she said.

O’Leary also provided numbers for the state’s other community colleges for comparison.

While DCC has seen a 54% increase in fall semester FTE in five years, Miles Community College experienced a 10% increase in that same time period and Flathead Community College in Kalispell has seen a 3% decrease in that same time period.

Reach Jamie Ausk Crisafulli at rreditor@rangerreview.com.