Enrollment down, economy up?

Published 12:05 am Thursday, January 19, 2012

LBWCC’s enrollment was down this semester. | File photo


Enrollment at LBW Community College is down nearly 9 percent from this time last year, which might be an indication that the economy is improving.

Renee LeMaire, the college’s director of marketing, said the figure is comparable to the fall semester.

Currently, there are 1,672 students enrolled collegewide, she said.

“Although this number is down 8.8 percent from the same time last year, we are holding our own compared to the fall,” LeMaire said. “Rarely do spring semester numbers increase from fall semester, so this is not unexpected and seems to be following a national trend.”

She said enrollments are typically influenced by the economy in a reverse relationship. “As the economy declines, enrollments grow and vice versa,” she said.

The college offers a variety of class options from traditional, on-campus classes and independent study to online courses and even dual-enrollment classes for high school students.

LeMaire said records, which do not represent a count for actual students, but instead, types of classes, are counted separately comparing Spring 2011 to Spring 2012 semesters.

She said there is an increase in student numbers in online classes– 1,058 in 2011 and 1,104 in 2012, as well as in independent study – 48 in 2011 to 93 in 2012.

“Online classes have trended up for the past few years while independent study fluctuates from year-to-year,” she said.

She said fewer are participating in hybrid classes – part on-line study and part on-campus – 42 in 2011, 22 in 2012. This type of class has also had fluctuations from year to year.

She said those choosing solely traditional, on-campus classes went from 4,935 in 2011 to 4,026 in 2012.

“This may be influenced by people going back to work, thus decreasing the opportunity to sit in a classroom,” she said.

She said dual enrollment numbers were virtually unchanged, down only by six.

Covington County’s unemployment rate was down to 8 percent in November.