Concurrent enrollment helps build Mesalands student population

By Chelle Delaney: QCS Staff

Fall enrollment at Mesalands Community College is up to 545 students, according to a report presented Tuesday at the college’s Board of Trustees meeting.

The number is up from last fall’s total of 533 and represents a 2.4 percent increase in enrollment.

Contributing to the rise is an increase in concurrent enrollment from students at high schools in Dexter and Moriarity. Concurrent enrollment was 18.6 percent of total enrollment in 2005 and jumped to 24.7 percent in 2006.

A diesel technology course is taught to students at Dexter and nine different courses are taught for Moriarity students.

College president Phillip Barry said that Moriarity High School conducted a statewide search before selecting Mesalands to provide its concurrent college classes for high school students.

The board also discussed ways of meeting with legislators to advocate for Mesalands in state and federal funding programs.

Trustee chairwoman, Muriel Latham-Pfeifer, said that person-to-person visits from trustees and college staff, with a consistent message, were the most effective.
Also, “students are wonderful advocates and show the practical application” of the college’s programs, she said.

“We cannot afford a lobbyist,” said Latham-Pfeifer, noting that many junior colleges in the state pay about $25,000 annually for a lobbyist to advocate on their behalf.
Latham-Pfeifer also suggested that the board investigate a program called “CollegeExpress,” that focuses on dual enrollment of college and high school students and is said to be successful at a Danville, Ill., junior college.

Such programs also contribute to higher retention and graduation rates that are not only a challenge for high schools but junior colleges as well, she said.
In other reports to the board:

• Financial aid programs during fiscal year 2005-2006 totaled $1,015,487 benefitting 559 students compared to the fiscal year 2004-2005 when $1,055,421 benefitted 469 students.