The Northern Marianas College posted a total of 1,171 full-time students for the fall 2013 semester—an 8-percent decline from the fall 2012 semester, according to the college.
The enrollment total is as of Friday, Aug. 23. The college still expects this number to rise due to the extended registration period for classes that will start on Sept. 16.
Despite the decline when compared to the fall 2012 semester, this is still an increase of about 50 percent from fall 2009 and a 19-percent rise from the fall 2010 semesters, Saipan Tribune learned.
Based on these numbers, NMC believes that it will still post strong enrolment totals this semester.
“Although enrollment numbers are slightly down from last year, NMC continues to post strong enrollment numbers. And, registration for the Sept. 16, 2013, classes will be ongoing until the second week of September, which means that enrollment for this semester may continue to increase,” said Student Services dean Leo Pangelinan.
He attributed the strong enrollment numbers to several factors.
“We have stepped up the way we engage prospective students through various activities through the College Access Challenge Grant Program, including the Start Smart Seminars held last year on Saipan, Rota, and Tinian,” said Pangelinan.
The college also had multiple information sessions where NMC asked current students to share their experiences with the community. It also hosted the highly successful Cash for College Seminar, which aims to help students find financial assistance to pay for their college expenses. More than 400 students attended the last Cash for College event.
NMC president Sharon Y. Hart, Ph.D., stressed yesterday that while NMC enrolls students who are pursuing college degrees, the college also administers many other noncredit programs for educational and professional enrichment.
“While it is important that we look at the number of students served under our credit programs, it is equally important that we look at the numbers served in our non-credit programs like the Community Development Institute and the Adult Basic Education Program. In the last few years, the college served thousands of individuals in these non-credit programs,” she said.
Hart also noted that the college received an overwhelming response to the announcement of its Workforce and Apprenticeship Program, as close to 300 students are in attendance for the first series of classes that were held on Saipan, Rota, and Tinian.
According to Dave Attao, dean of Administration and Resource Development who oversees that workforce development program at NMC, “This is just the beginning; we are expecting additional enrollees for the next sessions as we expand classes and training opportunities.”
The first series of workshops, titled “Workforce L.I.F.E.” and developed for CNMI residents and eligible U.S. citizens, began earlier in August at NMC’s campus in As Terlaje, as well as on NMC instructional sites on Rota and Tinian. The workforce development initiative provides participants a Lead Into Future Experiences (L.I.F.E) and aims to prepare youth and adults to be prepared and trained for meaningful careers.
“The workshops that have been organized are modeled after the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship Program’s Pathways Pledge that focuses on three areas a person needs to develop while preparing for a career,” added Attao.