Cowley College sees enrollment numbers increase in key areas

October 2, 2019

According to figures released after the 20th day of classes, Cowley College saw an increase in associate’s degrees and certificates awarded and Cowley County residents served during the 2018-19 academic year.

Statistics showed Cowley College students earned over 800 associate’s degrees and certificates during the 2018-2019 academic year, a 13.3% increase when compared to academic year 2107-2018.

Also, according to information from the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR, Cowley College served over 3,000 Kansas residents with an 8% year over year increase in enrollments by students residing in Cowley County.

Kristi Shaw, executive director of enrollment management, said New Tiger Orientation for first time- full time freshmen saw an increase in students from the year before.

“Our goal is to retain these students from start to finish,” Shaw said.

Another positive sign was the high school Tiger Orientation Summer Session that was attended by 275 students.

Dr. Michelle Schoon, vice president of academic affairs, said the state has also placed a recent focus on technical training, military students and high school students.

“Enrollment numbers in these key areas has increased over last year’s numbers,” Dr. Schoon said.

Cowley College athletic director Shane Larson said the Athletic Department saw an increase in roster sizes in baseball, men and women’s soccer, and wrestling. While baseball, softball and the men and women’s track and field teams traditionally bring in additional students prior to the spring semester.

As for fall 2019 preliminary numbers, there were areas that the college saw a slight decrease in enrollment. College administrators and enrollment services are working diligently to find ways to combat this issue.

The academic areas are revising recruitment fliers to help promote programs. They have also been developing more articulation pathways with universities and creating partnerships designed to keep students in the community, such as the Accelerated Pathway to Teaching with Newman University and the Finish with Friend business pathway.

According to Dr. Gloria Walker, vice president of finance and administration, the college’s Business Office has updated its processes to ensure students and third-party vendors have a seamless way to pay their/students’ bills and contact the Business Office including student financial services.

“The Business Office continues to eliminate barriers to students’ success,” Dr. Walker said.

Dr. Walker also continues to monitor the college’s budget as it relates to further decreases in student headcount/FTE/credit hours. 

“As such, adjustments will be made to several budgeted areas including Adjunct and Overload Salaries for faculty (college will need fewer courses taught since number of sections will decrease); custodial services will be reorganized; travel costs (due for fewer faculty and staff travel); thus, moving to more video conferencing; and decrease in capital outlay spend,” Dr. Walker said.

The college’s August 2019 financial reports already reflect  a 15.22% reduction in spending compared to same time last fiscal year; college spending is down by double digits in every budget category, including part-time faculty and staff, employee development, travel and vehicle mileage, general supplies and other department expenses, maintenance and repairs, utilities, and capital outlay, except for marketing.

The student headcount and enrollment information provided to KBOR for the Fall Preliminary and Fall Census data collections is restricted to information for those students who are actively enrolled in classes on the census day, September 10, 2019.

Because of these criteria, according to Debbie Phelps, Cowley College’s executive director of institutional effectiveness, 117 student records were not included because 100% of each student’s total semester enrollment was restricted to sub terms that begin after the census day. 

“It’s important to understand that any census day headcount, whether it be to the state or federal government (IPEDS), is not a representative picture of the total student enrollment for the reporting semester,” Phelps said.