PDCCC enrollment up

Published 9:48 am Wednesday, August 26, 2015

High School Career Coach Supervisor Candace Artis discussing the options of dual enrollment with high school student Marissa Haydu. -- SUBMITTED

High School Career Coach Supervisor Candace Artis discussing the options of dual enrollment with high school student Marissa Haydu. — SUBMITTED

Paul D. Camp Community College’s enrollment has significantly increased from Aug. 25, 2014, to Aug. 24, 2015, more than any of the other community colleges in Virginia, according to Dr. William “Bill” C Aiken, interim president. He received this information from the report by Virginia’s Community Colleges Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness.

PDCCC showed an 11.51 percent headcount increase, which is, 107 more students enrolled than last year this time. The headcount for dual enrollment increase is 187 more students, 366.67 percent higher than the headcount last year.

The students taking dual enrollment credits can still increase for this year because public school has not started yet.

In May, PDCCC had a meeting for anyone working at the college to talk about how they could increase their enrollment for the upcoming school year. Seventy-five to 100 employees showed up to this meeting.

PDCCC strives on being a small college because it is able to have so much personal contact with the students. Employees of the college decided that this was something they really needed to focus on to help the enrollment status.

All employees —regardless of their job title at the college — emailed current students, those who had enrolled last year, but not this year and also those who had enrolled but hadn’t paid their tuition. They asked students, former students and prospective students what they could do to help them with their experience at PDCCC, and made sure to follow through with the students’ requests.

In order to make sure the students were getting their emails, they sent their personal and school email addresses. Employees of PDCCC also called, texted and sent out postcards.

The financial aid office worked hard to ensure students with financial issues would be able to attend the college by exploring every option possible for those who qualified.

Aiken even sent a personal letter to everyone on the mailing list.

“People who work here and the community at large are really committed to seeing the college grow. The entire campus is elated about the news of our enrollment growth. It has been a concerted effort on the part of the entire campus,” he continued. “Hopefully, we have embarked on a new direction for PDCCC that will help the region have a better workforce. We truly believe that the community college is having a positive effect on Franklin, Suffolk and Smithfield.”

Aiken also said he felt that the personal contact that PDCCC was trying to have with the current and prospective students is what really helped the enrollment go up this year.

Dean of Student Services and Professional Counselor Trina Jones believes the president himself has been a positive factor.

“The leadership has been outstanding. He is a leader’s leader. He doesn’t just talk the talk, but he walks the walk.

“We have really teamed up; the entire college took the multiples-touches approach.”

Aiken added in, “Our goal is to retain the number of students we have this year to see they meet whatever goal they set out to.”

Both Aiken and Jones among other employees believe PDCCC helps students reach their goals by providing assessment coaches, student support services and tutors for those who need them and provide personal contact for every student who attends.