NCMC reports 8.6 percent increase in credit hours, largest increase among Michigan colleges

North Central Michigan College welcomed more students who took almost 9 percent more credit hours this winter compared to last winter, according to new data from the registrar’s office.

Enrollment increased across the board, as North Central saw upticks in both student headcount and credit hours. While total enrollment increased only slightly—by six students—credit hours increased by 1,001, or 8.6 percent, compared to Winter 2022. The college’s full-time equivalent (FTE), which aggregates part-time students into full-time students, increased by 8.56 percent, or 67 students.

North Central’s increase in credit hours was the largest among the 25 Michigan community colleges that reported data for Winter 2023. Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac and Alpena Community College notched the second and third largest credit hour gains, with 8.3 and 7.9 percent, respectively. Only nine colleges reported an increase in credit hours, with increases ranging from .9 percent to 8.6 percent.

“The increase in full-time enrolled students can be attributed in part to the student-athletes on campus as well as an increase in dorm residents in 2023,” said Registrar Joseph Balinski. Both student groups are required to be enrolled full time, which means an academic course load of at least 12 credit hours.

There are academic benefits associated with taking heavier course loads, Balinski noted, including increased persistence and higher graduation rates. A 2017 report by the Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE) at the University of Texas at Austin found that 34 percent of students who attended full time for even one semester earned an associate degree or a certificate, compared to only 23 percent who enrolled part time throughout their college experience. Further, community college students who enrolled in at least 12 credits when they first arrived at college were more likely to return for a second year (77 percent compared to 64 percent) and to earn a credential (38 percent compared to 31 percent), CCCSE reported.

Corey Lansing, North Central’s director of Admission, cited a campuswide focus on belonging and student success as critical to the college’s enrollment success.

“These increases are thanks to great teamwork across campus,” Lansing said. “In addition to employing new strategies aimed at new-student recruitment, we’re also focused on efforts to retain and support our current students to make sure they’re successful on their educational journey toward graduation. Both aspects are reflected in our Winter 2023 numbers.”

Enrollment for North Central’s Fall 2023 semester opens on February 15.