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LCC's enrollment dropped by half over the last decade. The pandemic hasn't helped.

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University Center building .jpg
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Posted at 7:30 PM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 19:30:09-05

LANSING, Mich — Enrollment at Lansing Community College has fallen by more than half since the fall of 2010. What's the school doing to address the issue? New recruiting tactics.

Close to 22,000 students were enrolled at LCC in the fall of 2010, many having returned to school after the 2008 recession devastated the state's economy. By this past fall, that number had dropped to 10,306.

"For the fall semester, we're about 12% down, and in the spring semester, we're about at the same point, about 12% down. And both for the fall and the spring semester, the decrease in enrollment is really related to COCID," said LCC Provost Sally Welch.

But LCC had seen steady declines for most of a decade. Some of that was because Michigan's economy improved and people could find jobs. Some of it was because there just weren't as many 18 to 24-year-olds.

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Lansing Community College

"Part of the reason why we're having seen that decrease in enrollment has to do with the traditional population that comes to college," Welch said. "So, your high school population. The population in Michigan for high school graduates has been decreasing and will be continuing to decrease until 2025."

Some experts had predicted that, with four-year universities moving classes online, students would flood to cheaper community colleges, but those gains haven't materialized.

The enrollment declines haven't significantly impacted the college's operations, Welch said, but LCC does have new recruiting tactics in place.

"Do personalized solicitation to students and frequent contacts to students, so that we're trying to engage them on a more personal level," she said. "And so, as soon as the students submits an inquiry card or applies, we have a student engagement coordinator that's assigned to them."

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The University Center building at Lansing Community College.

One of the few LCC students going to class in person says he's happy he came.

"I've seen first-hand what they can do. Corona has just really made this crazy, honestly. Outside of Corona, LCC has been beautiful. I always tell my friends all the time if you fail here, it's because you just didn't want to try. That's what I think, honestly," said Patrick Rogers.

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