NWACC Enrollment Numbers Decrease For Second Straight Year

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Fewer students will be on the Northwest Arkansas Community College’s campus this year, after a press release states that enrollment decreased by 3.8 percent.

The preliminary count shows that there are 8,102 students attending the school this year, according to a news release.

This is the second consecutive year that enrollment has decreased for the college after years of steady growth.

Administrators plan to meet to review this year's budget to make up for the lost revenue caused by a lower amount of students enrolled. It is unsure if tuition will be raised next year.

"Really, the majority of our budget honestly comes from salaries and benefits, so we would be looking significantly at those areas," NWACC spokesman Steven Hinds said. "We could also look at what’s called our maintenance and operations section of the budget and see if we could make cuts in those areas.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released a report in May that said two-year colleges are seeing on average an enrollment decrease of 3.6 percent.

Administrators said that it is common to see a decrease in enrollment at two-year colleges when the local economy is improving and people don't feel like they have to go back to school.

Hinds said that the college plans to continue focusing on giving students a great education.

Freshman Brandon Witt has really enjoyed taking classes at NWACC.

"I love it. It’s a small community, and teachers can actually focus on the class and constrain the knowledge of the course," he said.

Students said they believe most of those who attend NWACC do so to get their general education courses out of the way before heading to a four-year institution, such as the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

"It's cheap, and I work right now. I didn’t want to quit because I just love it," freshman Tim Talley said. "It's a lot cheaper here than the U of A, so I’ll stay here for two years and get my associate’s and then move on to the U of A, where I’ll get a four-year degree there.”