As Youngstown State University’s enrollment continues to fall, the enrollment at Eastern Gateway Community College is on the rise.
There are 13,813 students enrolled at YSU this fall — 638 students less than fall 2011 and 1,381 less than 2010. Since 2000, enrollment at YSU has declined only three times. However, 2012 marks the second year in a row that the number of students enrolled at the school has decreased.
“It’s important to put in context,” said Ron Cole, director of university communications. “Most public universities have declined this year.”EGCC is the exception.
“EGCC’s enrollment has increased since opening,” said Elizabeth Modlin, secretary to the dean of enrollment management at EGCC. “For example, enrollment this fall is at 2,392 students versus 2,150 students last year.”
Eastern Gateway’s enrollment increased from 1,727 in the fall of 2007 to 2,136 in the fall of 2010. One of the largest enrollment spikes occurred between the years of 2008 and 2009, with an increase of 243 students.
Modlin attributes the enrollment increase to EGCC’s campus expansion in 2009.
“Before that, we were just Jefferson Community College,” Modlin said.
In 2009, Jefferson Community College expanded its campus and changed its name to Eastern Gateway Community College. This expansion allowed the school to include Trumbull, Columbiana and Mahoning counties — and any potential students therein — as part of its service area.
“We went from a one-county service district to a four-county service district,” said Patty Sturch, dean of enrollment management at EGCC. “The enrollment increase is basically due to the expansion.” Cole said he does not believe that YSU’s enrollment decrease is connected to EGCC’s expansion and enrollment increase.
“EGCC provides another option, but their approach is different,” Cole said.Sturch agreed.
“The average age at the Valley Center is 32. We don’t have a large volume of students directly from high school,” she said.
Cole attributed the enrollment decrease to the decline in high school graduates from YSU’s primary recruiting area. Cole also said that enrollment tends to decrease when the economy gets better because possible students search for jobs rather than seek education.