Enrollment falls at Owens


PERRYSBURG — Enrollment at Owens Community College is down from this time last year.

President Dione Somerville reported updated numbers at the Feb. 7 board of trustees meeting.

Overall enrollment is down 2.7%, or 194 students, compared to spring 2022, she said.

Total enrollment is 6,963 for this spring.

An enrollment census occurs each semester on the 14th day after classes begin, which was Feb. 6 for spring 2023.

New student enrollment for spring 2023 was 539, compared to 557 last year.

Non-traditional student enrollment has stabilized and has seen flat movement from last year.

The number of students enrolling direct from high school is consistent with last year and College Credit Plus enrollment has increase by 4.6% to 1,114 students, Somerville said.

“A lot of very intentional efforts to continue the stability in the program have succeeded,” she said.

CCP learners are junior high and high school students who are taking college courses while working toward their high school diploma. Owens partners with more than 70 high schools that have students participating in CCP. Students taking advantage of this program earn college credit at no cost or at a reduced tuition rate.

Challenges include competition and work force opportunities that don’t require formal education, Somerville said.

“Those continue to persist,” she said.

Top enrolling programs include:

• Registered nurse program (415)

• Pre-nursing (413)

• Business transfer (169)

• Education transfer (135)

• Business management technology (131)

• Pre-dental hygiene (104)

Overall continuing students is more concerning as the college is behind 4.7% from last spring, or 3,370, but that is impacted by fall numbers being down 11.6%, Somerville said.

Continuing student enrollment for spring 2022 was 3,538.

“Even though we have these challenges, we’re optimistic about where we’re heading in the future,” Somerville said.

Marketing, admissions and student affairs are looking at a comprehensive review of the student experience, process flow is as barrier-free as possible, and satisfaction in a variety of areas.

The review hopefully will establish enrollment trends and help predict future numbers as well as identify areas that students opt out during their experience at Owens, Somerville said.

Other strategies and efforts are focused on increasing proactive student engagement and enhancing the student experience that will start at registration.

Blake Renner, former dean of students at Franklin University, is the new vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Owens.

Renner said he was very optimistic of what could be done in the short term to have an impact which will then affect long-term issues.

“Hopefully, we’ll start to see some of those things turn around,” he said.

This downswing is the opposite of what happened in spring 2022, when Owens had a increase of 551 students, or 7.7%, in total headcount enrollment to take enrollment to 7,157.

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