Enrollment goal curbed amid nationwide decline


Andrew Miller/The Et Cetera

CARMEN GUZMAN, Editor In Chief

Despite more students returning to Eastfield, enrollment declined 6.7% from fall of last year.

According to a 2022 study by National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, colleges saw a combined drop of 5% in attendance for the 2022-2023 school year.

The decline underscores the importance of the collaborative effort by marketing, student success and the enrollment office to boost student attendance.

“Our teams have worked diligently,” said Marisa Pierce, associate vice chancellor of enrollment management. “We’re giving 100% of our efforts to make sure that students are aware of the opportunities they have to come to college.”

Pierce oversees an ongoing awareness campaign, characterized by increased public advertising for Dallas College and the Student Care Network.

The enrollment office set a goal for a 3% increase from Fall 2021, but they only reached 92% of that goal.

“We have to remember that we’re suffering a nationwide decline in enrollment,” said Pierce. “We also have to be mindful of the fact that it’s going to take time for everybody, ourselves included, to grow out of declining numbers.”

Fall 2020 saw an overall enrollment of 75,166 students, influenced by the switch to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the enrollment office, in-person classes have overtaken online classes as the preferred form of learning in Fall 2022.

“It’s also important to recognize that even though our numbers are in decline, it’s not for a lack of work that’s gone into serving students,” Pierce said.

Dallas College is cutting down transportation and economic barriers to mend potential limitations from higher learning.

The upcoming Student Services building and reworked food pantry are among provisions from Dallas College to attract students to Eastfield.

“When we think of [students] sticking in school, it shouldn’t be a matter of having food on the table,” said Carlos Cruz, associate vice chancellor of wellbeing and student support. “These are challenges faced among our student population.”

According to the office of student success, one of the current goals for maintaining enrollment numbers is through student retention, especially through care programs.

“We know we can make strong connections in person,” Cruz said. “We are intentional with having programs that are diverse enough to meet student needs, in person and on campus.”

The enrollment office and office of student success search for gaps in student wellbeing. Part of the campaign assists the administrative effort to expand student aid programs.

“I think with each gradual movement forward that we’re doing as a college, the more we are going to resonate with our community,” Pierce said.

Dallas College has a team of recruiters who contact high schools and businesses as a method of recruiting new students.

Staying in touch with continuing students is another key factor in maintaining numbers. Dean of Admissions Patty Young facilitates the marketing campaign to keep students in touch with the college’s developments.

“Our robust marketing campaign reaches out to students on a daily basis, letting them know about the services we offer,” Young said.

Enrollment is expected to decline according to the Clearinghouse rate, but the enrollment office will try to maintain the majority held by physical classes.

“[92%] is a testament to the loyalty and passion behind our work,” Pierce said.