AACC enrollment dips economy blamed

October 19, 1992|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff Writer

After eight years of significant growth, enrollment in Anne Arundel Community College has dropped off slightly this year for the first time.

The number of students enrolling this fall totaled 12,077, 2.6 percent fewer than last fall's record of 12,401.

It marks the second semester in which enrollments have declined. In the spring, 3 percent fewer students enrolled than during the 1991 spring semester.

College officials attributed that decrease less to tuition hikes and more to students' career demands and lack of free time.

This semester, however, they are blaming the slumping economy.

"We think the recession has played a significant role in the enrollment decline," said Augustine W. Pounds, vice president and dean of student services. "The downturn in the state and national economy has hit hard in Anne Arundel County."

College officials said more than 3,000 students applied for financial aid this semester, an increase of 10 percent over last fall.

Part-time enrollment figures showed the greatest decline, at 3.5 percent. Officials attributed that to the drop in new students seeking a degree or certificate. Full-time enrollment fell a marginal 0.3 percent.

But while other figures dropped, the number of full-time, first-time students increased from 1,193 last fall to 1,195.

Students ages 19 to 21 showed the largest decrease in enrollment, down 254 students from the previous fall. Students under 18, and those between 25 and 29, were the only two age groups for which enrollment remained steady.

The college exceeded the goals of its Minority Achievement plan this fall when the number of black students jumped 7.8 percent. There are 1,051 black students at AACC, 8.7 percent of the student population.

In addition, the number of recent high school graduates increased slightly to 1,183, compared with 1,120 last year.

Last spring, the college made up for a $30 million budget cut by raising the cost of a credit hour from $44 to $54 and initiating a $15 surcharge on the registration fee.

Also, senior citizens who previously were able to take classes at the college free were asked to pay a $20 registration fee.

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