By Gale Rose

Pratt Community College has a better understanding of their enrollment procedures and outcomes that is designed to get more students in the doors at PCC.

An update on the Strategic Enrollment Action Team was presented to the PCC Board of Trustees at their regular Monthly meeting May 16 at the college.

Lisa Miller, vice president of student enrollment management, said the college had deficits in their enrollment procedures and the team evaluation would help identify strengths and weaknesses then produce an effective enrollment plan that would eventually bring in more students and help retain them at the college.

The team consists of faculty, staff and administration representing a diverse cross section of the college.

One of the goals is to have a 10 percent increase in enrollment and to make sure they have a student base to do that.

A big challenge facing the team was how to organize all the data and there was a lot to organize. The team worked on setting recruiting, enrollment and retention goals followed with methods to reach those goals and then how to use the information.

“How can we make the things were doing better and how can we get better retention on our investment,” Miller said.

Some of the positive outcomes so far have been better recruiting accountability, better communication among faculty, staff and administration about enrollment and fixing gaps in enrollment practices, said PCC President Michael Calvert.

Calvert would like to see faculty do more recruiting especially when class numbers are down.

“If everyone recruits their area, we should be OK,” Calvert said. “People working in these areas know where the holes are.”

Some students are active in more than one area so team members are making sure they don’t count a student twice.

While much progress has been made, there is more work to be done to assure accurate enrollment information and the best way to use that information.

“These reports are a work in project,” Miller said.

Efforts are underway to increase Beaver Backers’ activity in the community and grow participation in the organization. One possible change would be a new meeting time so more people could attend, said Bill Wilson, PCC athletic director.

The group’s next event is a meet and greet from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Blue Moon café with the new men’s and women’s basketball coaches.

Other ideas for future activities include a possible kickoff pig roast in the fall and a fundraising duck race in Centennial Park. Wilson said he was also looking into the possibility of getting a food truck for use at PCC baseball, softball and soccer games.

“We’re in the early stages of wrapping our heads around this,” Wilson said.

Calvert said the Beaver Backers have had a strong presence in the past but need to be more engaged in the community.

Financially, the school remains in good shape so far this year but it early indications are for a three to five percent cut in the budget for 2016-2017.

To insure the college is operating at maximum financial efficiency, a Services and Program Under Review plan has been executed for everything with a budget, said Kent Adams, vice president of finance and operations.

Calvert said the college was getting a good picture from every department and that will help when planning the budget. It has been so revealing, he would like to do it every year.

“It’s really opened some eyes,” Calvert said.

One important financial event for the college is the annual scholarship auction. This year the college raised $35,000 for student scholarships. It is the biggest fundraiser for the college.

While the financial outlook is uncertain for next year, the early enrollment numbers are looking good with an increase of 15 percent over last year for the fall semester. Residence hall deposits are up 40 percent above last year at the same time.

Larger numbers of students have been attending Beaver Builders recruiting days on campus. The college is also enrolling concurrent students earlier so that has helped increase fall numbers.

Part of that enrollment increase is in response to the efforts of the action team, Calvert said.

An unexpected statistic has shown up from the research into enrollment issues. About 15 percent of the students attending PCC never took part in a campus visit before enrolling. While the college actively recruits students and encourages them to visit campus, there are some that will attend even without that visit, Calvert said.