At Danville Community College, enrollment trend reverses with 5% increase so far

With enrollment up year-over-year, Danville Community College has reversed an ongoing trend that predates the pandemic.

While COVID-19 dealt a blow to systems of higher education across the state and nation, a slip in enrollment was playing out before the life-altering virus hit in 2020.

This year, full-time enrollment is up 5.15%, from 1,262 to 1,327, the school reported in a news release this week. Those numbers could increase further as the semester goes on, in part because a DCC program of eight-week courses that starts later.

“We can attribute this growth to several initiatives,” Jerry Wallace, president of Danville Community College, stated in a release. “The staff and faculty at DCC have been working diligently to improve access to our offerings and to make the community aware of what we have to offer. We can say with confidence that their hard work is paying off.”

DCC acknowledged full-time and dual enrollment figures were down in 2021, a trend that’s been a reality even before COVID-19.

“We’ve been working very closely with our admissions team, our financial aid staff and our advisors to identify gaps and to better understand what students need in order to make higher education fit into their everyday lives,” Cornelius Johnson, vice president of academic affairs and student services, said in the release. “By placing our attention on our students and ensuring that we are providing enough support and wraparound services, we are seeing our numbers increase.”

The college also is recruiting for new faculty members. DCC faculty job fairs will be held in Danville at the student center on the DCC campus on Tuesday, in South Boston at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center on Sept. 22 and at the Pittsylvania Career & Technical Center in Chatham on Sept. 27. Each event will last from 4 to 6 p.m.

Wallace said they have positions open for people wanting full-time work as well as those who want to teach a class — or two — as a side job.

Johnson said the eight-week offerings by have the same amount of information condensed into a “fast-track” course.

“We expect to see additional students enroll for this second wave as we get closer to the October start date,” he wrote.

Leaders at DCC are quick to say there’s still work to be done, but also are cautiously optimistic as faculty and staff continue to look for ways to further grow enrollment.

“It’s still early, but we are excited that the growth our team has worked so hard for is finally within reach,” said Wallace. “I am incredibly proud of what has been done to reach this point and I am thrilled to be a part of what we will do moving forward to continue this trend.”