JCC Trends Ahead For Fall 2019

Jamestown Community College is down in enrollment, but applications received at this point in time are trending ahead of last year for the upcoming fall semester.

At this point for the 2019 fall semester, JCC is up about 17 percent of total applications received when compared to this time last year for the 2018 fall semester. Accepted applications are up 32 percent when compared to last year’s numbers for the fall.

“We’re seeing some positive things coming through,” said Kirk Young, JCC vice president of enrollment management and institutional advancement, during a board of trustees meeting Tuesday.

Despite the positive outlook for the upcoming fall semester, the institution is currently handling a decline in enrollment from fall 2017 to fall 2018. In total, JCC observed 2,515 students enroll at the college for the 2018 fall semester, down 94 from the 2,609 students who enrolled the previous year. Of the 94-student decline, 54 of them were full-time equivalent students. Last year at this time, JCC had 2,409 total students enrolled.

JCC is observing an increase in the amount of new students, or students who didn’t attend JCC in the fall, with 54 students, up from 40 students at this time last year.

Young presented the methods in which the district is looking to address the decline. Young addressed the Educational Services Committee two weeks ago about the very same topic.

Among many other initiatives, the college is looking to revise current scholarships and offer new ones to address student needs other than tuition.

For example, the USA Scholarship that JCC offers to students in the top 20 percent of their graduating class free tuition to JCC is being revised into an additional scholarship.

The revised version – the original scholarship will also remain intact – will apply to students who qualify for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship. Cuomo’s scholarship exclusively covers tuition cost.

The revised USA Scholarship would then cover non-tuition costs for a student in the top 20 percent of their class.

An area that was again discussed by the board is promoting the low-cost tuition JCC offers more extensively.

“One of two (graduates) leave here with no debt. That’s a message we need to hit over and over and over in all of our materials,” JCC President Daniel DeMarte said during the previous Educational Services Committee meeting.

Marilyn Zagora, vice president of academic affairs, addressed the board of trustees of the college’s strategic plan that is being looked by academic affairs department and DeMarte.

Zagora said the institution is looking at shifting its emphasis of enrolling “college-ready students” to a focus on ensuring that JCC is a “student-ready college.”

She said the college aims to meet incoming students “wherever they are and putting in place practices that will support them on the pathway to success.”

Zagora also said the retention of students is just as important as other initiatives, fiscally and academically. A variety of national templates are being considered while the college molds its strategic plan.

“The bottom line in all of these (templates) is that they use an evidence-based approach to retention and completion to rethink our current paradigms in significant ways,” Zagora said.

JCC’s strategic directions for the school years between 2019 and 2022 include revitalization of academic and workforce programs; improving enrollment, retention and completion; providing on-track advising; preparing for a diverse and global student body; modernizing the operating budget and fundraising; and developing exceptional customer service.

Trustee Mark Ward remained positive at the end of the meeting and alluded to more innovative initiatives that are on the way.

“I’ll tell you it’s a good feeling,” Ward said of the impending innovation at the college. “Even though our FTEs (full-time equivalent students) are down, I think the future’s bright.”