From: Enrollment Management Council
Date: September 28, 2016
Re: College Calendar and the Fall Start Date
EMC has been investigating ways of bolstering both our new enrollment and our retention efforts. It was brought to our attention that as a college we tend to start the fall semester considerably earlier than our counterparts and that students find this earlier start date to be a barrier to their enrollment at the college. Fall semester start dates in the third week of August decrease accessibility for students who work summer seasonal jobs and students who return back to the area after a few days away at a residential college. It also was noted that many of our students are returning adult students, with children of their own, and for them, enrolling in classes prior to their children starting in the K-12 system causes child care issues and ultimately decreases both their chances of enrolling and their chances of success even if they are able to enroll. Finally, with a start date before the other community, public, and private colleges in the region, MVCC loses enrollment to these competitor colleges every fall.
To this end EMC investigated historic start dates and enrollment trends and discovered that in the fall of 2001 the college did, in fact, have a start date of September 4th. Having a start date after Labor Day (in 2001 Labor Day was September 3rd) produced a 15.2% enrollment increase for new, first time students and 5.7% for total enrollment over the previous fall with the more traditional August start date.
Fall 2000 – Start date August 21, 2000 = 1400 new, matriculated students
Fall 2001 – Start date September 4, 2001 = 1613 new, matriculated students (an increase of 15.2% from previous Fall for new students)
Fall 2002 – Start date September 3, 2002 = 1670 new, matriculated students
Fall 2003 – Start Date August 25, 2003 = 1697 new, matriculated students
(The start date for Fall 2001 was advertised in the 2000-2001 Catalog as Monday, August 20th. At some point it seems a decision was made that year to move it to Tuesday, September 4th.)
Fall-2000 5242/1771 new – Start Date Aug. 21st
Fall-2001 5543/1879 new – Start Date Sept. 4th
Fall-2002 5950/2165 new – Start Date Sept. 3rd
Fall-2003 5842/2224 new – Start Date August 25th
To this end, EMC recommends that the college seriously investigate options for starting the fall semester after Labor Day each year, and that an action plan be created to adopt this new start date, for fall 2017, in an effort to better serve our students’ needs and to attract more students to the institution.