Fall 2009 student enrollment rates for AWC and NAU-Yuma have skyrocketed. Eileen Knight, Associate Director Admissions at NAY-Yuma, says enrollment for newly admitted students there has increased about 100 percent over last semester though campus-wide enrollment for existing students (mostly undergraduates joining NAU) had only a 7.1 percent increase.
AWC's head count, in comparison to last year, witnessed an overall 14.5 percent increase, according to Amy Pignatore, Director of the AWC Admissions/Registrar office.
Both Knight and Pignatore present a number of reasons for the large increases this semester. One reason is the high unemployment rate, which may lead many individuals to return to college so they can undergo training for new careers or complete a degree. Knight also said that NAU's partnership with AWC is a vital factor in the enrollment increases.
Some of AWC's increases also have been thanks to military enrollment, and more financial aid for military populations, Pigatore said. She also said that admissions outreach to high school students has increased, adding that, among all the AWC campuses, the greatest increases have been in the Somerton area.
Pignatore explains that enrollment at AWC is calculated by location as well as online enrollment numbers. The goal is to determine how many students are taking web courses so they can be reported to the State of Arizona, which is responsible for providing funding to colleges.
AWC has been calculating enrollment figures using what Pignatore calls a "full-time student equivalency" process. For this, faculty members are asked to verify which students are coming to class and how many are no-shows to determine the number of students who are actually coming to class.