For some time, now, the college’s Institutional Research department has distributed a series of PDF files containing enrollment numbers for the current and previous terms. The files slice enrollments in several different ways, by campus, by subject, and others. I “scraped” those PDF files and created an R data frame with some of the data in those files and then decided to “play around” with the data to see what I could discover.
Enrollment Trends by Campus
My first effort was to graph the enrollment trends by campus.
Notice in Figure 1 that the Y-Axis is scaled logarithmically since the total district enrollments are disproportionate to the various locations. Also, a few locations (Benson, Bisbee, Downtown Center, Ft. Huachuca, Santa Cruz, and Willcox) are not reported here since those numbers are very small when compared to the other locations. Those students, though, are included in the “Subject” graphs later in this post.
The graph in Figure 1 clearly shows a decrease in enrollments since 2010. There is an anomaly, though, in online enrollments—they are increasing. The senior administration should be very interested in this particular trend, especially given the recent reorganization that dissolved the centralized online program structure and moved those functions to the various departments. The online enrollment trend bears a close watch to ensure that it does not flatten, or even decrease, under a decentralized structure.
Enrollment Trends by Transfer Programs
Next, I graphed enrollment trends for subjects that are primarily transferred to the University.
In Figure 2, only the five largest transfer subjects are plotted. To be sure, Cochise College, like most colleges, offers classes in many different transfer programs, but the number of students in those classes is very small compared to the hundreds in the programs listed in Figure 2.
Notice that Math had increasing enrollments up until 2015, then there was a significant drop. In fact, between 2015 and 2017 the number of students in math classes decreased by 41%. This was about the time that we reorganized the math program to fold much of our developmental efforts into college-level classes and that may account for this change in number; however, it would seem that the number of students should not have decreased this dramatically just because we changed the program structure. This may be a change that would merit further investigation.
Also notice the spike in the CPD (Counseling and Personal Development) in 2017, an increase of more than 1000%, which is a result of requiring new students to complete that class. It would be reasonable to predict that the CPD number would now level off and, generally, follow the same trend of other subjects in the district.
Enrollment Trends by Workforce Programs
Finally, I graphed enrollment trends for our four largest workforce programs.
As in Figure 2, the graph in Figure 3 only displays the largest of our workforce programs. Figure 3 contrasts to Figures 1 and 2 in two important ways.
The overall numbers are smaller. The nursing program had 500 enrollments in 2018, which makes it slightly larger than the two smallest transfer programs in Figure 2; but other than nursing, the largest workforce programs are still a fraction of the largest transfer programs.
The enrollment trends are generally steady or increasing over the years.
There may be room for growth in these programs. It would seem that there is at least a steady interest in workforce programs among students and there could be room for growth through enhanced marketing, recruiting, or other efforts.
The overall enrollment trend for Cochise College is somewhat discouraging, but there are a few bright spots that could yield improved enrollments in the future. In particular, online transfer classes should be expanded and the growth opportunities for the various workforce programs should be investigated.