HAMPTON — Virginia Peninsula Community College announced last week its unofficial fall enrollment numbers are up from a year ago, ending an eight-year decline.
The numbers are for credit and non-credit students. Steven Felker, the director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness at the College, said he expects the final count for credit instruction to be close to 6,018 students and 3,377 for full-time equivalent students (FTES).
“Those numbers represent a 3.2 percent increase in both students and FTES when compared to final numbers from the prior year,” he said.
According to a press release, the entire Virginia Community College System is anticipating a 1.6% increase in students and a 0.2% decrease in FTES.
The decline in enrollment at VPCC began in 2014, and was exacerbated by the pandemic.
Felker cited a number of factors for the fall increase:
- A return to more in-person, on-campus class options (35% more than in fall 2021)
- Substantial growth, 28%, in the number of high school dual enrollment students
- An increase in the average credit hour load of regular enrollment students (3% higher)
- Growth in student enrollment in IT programming (15% higher for both the associate of science in information technology and the associate of applied science in information systems technology) and several programs that had been hit particularly hard by the pandemic and its limits on in-person instruction (57% higher for the AAS in computer-aided drafting and design and 32% higher for the AAS in automotive technology).
Felker also noted that the unofficial non-credit numbers have increased dramatically, as well, with 606 students and 39,037 contact hours — a 49.6% increase in students and a 54.5% increase in contact hours from fall 2021.
Felker credited new and expanded course options for phlebotomy and commercial driver’s license (CDL) training, and the return to more in-person class offerings, as factors in that increase.