In a pandemic year that had colleges across the nation bracing for unprecedented decreases in enrollment - Mid-Plains Community College not only weathered the storm, it also had the smallest decline in enrollment out of all community colleges in Nebraska.
That's according to Nebraska's Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education "Estimated Fall Enrollment Report." released earlier this semester. MPCC's 2020 fall enrollment was down less than 1% from the same time last year.
"With so many unknowns, it was hard to predict what our fall enrollment would do," said Kelly Rippen, area vice president of student affairs. "When we made the decision to deliver our courses in person, as well as offer multiple hybrid, online, zoom and distance learning options for students, we saw a boost in enrollment. Some students did make the choice to enroll in online courses, and several others who had made plans to attend elsewhere, who were not interested in the 'online only' format, chose to attend MPCC because of in-person availability."
Some aspects of MPCC's enrollment fared better this semester than they have in the past. Early entry enrollments were up 2% from last year at this time and online enrollments also increased by 27%. Additionally, enrollment at MPCC's four community campuses in Broken Bow, Imperial, Ogallala and Valentine showed a 6% increase this fall.
"One of the greatest aspects of MPCC is our ability to adapt to students' needs and changing health directives," said Rippen. "Being small, affordable and student-focused has always set us apart from other institutions, but it is especially recognized and appreciated during difficult times. Creating a safe environment for learning has always been a priority, and in times of uncertainty we really are first choice. I know students attending this fall were extremely appreciative of our dedication to remain open for service, even with mask requirements."
More information about MPCC and the various learning options it offers can be found online at mpcc.edu. Registration is now open for spring classes.