Pratt Community College President William Wojciechowski isn't waiting to find out if the college has hit a new trend.

Pratt Community College President William Wojciechowski isn't waiting to find out if the college has hit a new trend.

For only the third time in 10 years the head count and credit hour numbers are lower than the previous year at Pratt Community College.

The statistics were presented to the PCC Board of Trustees during their regular monthly meeting Monday night.

Wojciechowski said the college would put out a proposal for a consultant to upgrade the recruiting plan that has been in place since the 1990s when the last consultant was used to improve enrollment. The plan has worked well but times have changed and its time for a new plan.

"We need to reinvent ourselves," Wojciechowski said. "We need an unbridled look at where our approaches need to change. We need to take action now."

The college has room to grow so the opportunities are still available.

The numbers are actually a little better then when the Board agenda was printed, said Lisa Miller, vice president of student enrollment management.

As of Monday, head count was down three percent over a year ago and total credit hours were down five percent over the same time period.

When the numbers were published in the agenda, total credit hours were seven percent down while headcount was down four percent.

"We have made some progress," Miller said.

Residence hall numbers are also down from a year ago with 93 percent occupancy now as opposed to 96 percent occupancy a year ago.

Of those students that didn't check into the residence halls, 14 never came to campus, seven got home sick and went home, two were athletes who arrived early and decided to leave because they weren't going to get the playing time they wanted, one left for personal reasons and one got into trouble and left school.

Miller is optimistic that the numbers might change a little more before the official count day on Thursday, Sept. 20.

The college is taking an aggressive approach to find out why the numbers are down. Their efforts have identified 89 students that were no-shows for the fall semester. Miller's staff set out to contact every no show to determine why they didn't come and to determine if the college could take steps to get some of those students to school or to help prevent the same thing from happening in the fall of 2013.

The highest factor was students not understanding that they couldn't just show up at school and the financial aid would be available. The paper work for financial aid was not conducted in a timely manner, Miller said.

Other factors included changes in nursing courses, work schedule conflict with spouse, not finding day care for children, personal reasons, money issues outside financial aid, unable to contact PCC personnel and could not contact student.

One element that may change credit hour numbers is Skyline High School and Kingman High School have not turned in their concurrent enrollment figures yet, Miller said.

Trustee Wendell Howell said he wondered if the college had reached saturation point. Miller said she didn't feel the college was at that point. Students still liked coming to the small setting at PCC and the school recruiting strategies were still working.

Wojciechowski said he thought the adult student population had reached saturation because the college had outreach programs for that demographic for many years.

"There's not a lot of non-traditional students we haven't tried to reach," Wojciechowski said.

In other Board action:

The Board waived the policy of nepotism and voted to hire Trustee Stan Reimer to teach a digital photography course. The college was unsuccessful in finding a qualified instructor. Reimer has taught the course in the past. Reimer abstained from the vote.

The college won Best of the Web community college website category from the Center For Digital Education in San Francisco. It was one of only three community colleges to receive an award. The award was based on design, artwork, ease of navigation and marketing potential.