The Northern Marianas College enrolled 1,148 full time students as of the last day of regular registration Friday, an increase of about 8 percent compared to the spring 2012 semester enrolment of 1,065.
According to the college, enrollment numbers may further increase slightly this week as late enrollees come in to register for more classes.
Registration for the spring 2013 semester was from Jan. 14, 2013, to Jan. 17. Last Friday was the last day for late registration.
“Just a few short years ago, our enrollment for the spring semester was around the 800 full time equivalency level, and now we're at about 50 percent higher than that. The higher enrollment numbers illustrate that more and more people are looking to the Northern Marianas College for their higher education and training needs,” NMC president Sharon Y. Hart, Ph.D., told Saipan Tribune.
Full time equivalency is calculated by taking the total number of credits students register for and dividing that figure by 12 (the minimum number needed to be a full-time student).
Besides academic programs, NMC also saw a significant increase in the number of students taking non-credit programs.
“We also continue to see strong enrollment in our noncredit programs, including classes offered by NMC's Community Development Institute, which offers short-term certificate programs in a number of professional areas,” said Hart.
The college continues to increase its number of online and hybrid courses, Hart said, giving students the flexibility they need in scheduling their classes and managing personal and professional obligations.
Hybrid classes are a combination of online and on-campus instruction; students enrolled in hybrid classes meet regularly on-campus for at least 50 percent of the required contact hours with the remaining being taught through NMC Online.
According to Amanda Allen, NMC's director of Distance Learning Education, many of the online and hybrid courses offered for the spring 2013 semester filled up quickly, an indication of their growing popularity.
Leo Pangelinan, dean of Student Services, attribute the growing enrollment numbers to several factors.
“We continue to engage many students through the College Access Challenge Grant Program like the Start Smart seminars, the Cash for College Workshops and other activities,” he said.
Pangelinan said the college has also stepped up its efforts to recruit adult students who have delayed enrollment for one reason or another.
The CNMI Scholarship Office has also implemented new rules requiring new scholarship applicants to attend NMC for their first two years of college in order to receive financial assistance. The college also now offers the TEACH Grant, which provides scholarship funds to students pursuing a teaching career.