LCC Outlines Initiatives to Increase Enrollment

LCC Wellness Center

Five initiatives for increasing student enrollment at Lamar Community College were outlined by President John Marrin as he briefed the Prowers County Commissioners during their Tuesday meeting, June 16.  “Each of the five are very important to the school and will help develop us as a destination college,” he explained.  Marrin also said  the college is days away from receiving its construction documents needed to develop a dormitory pod which will accommodate about two dozen students when it’s completed by late fall in the 2016 semester. “We’ll have a better idea of a timetable when we do our student count on the first day of the new semester, September 8,” he said, adding that those figures, plus the information from the construction documents which will be viewed by the city and county, would formulate their next steps.

Greater use of technology is one of the five initiatives outlined by President Marrin, “We want to increase the number of full time students who take online courses and develop growth in our career and technical education programs which includes nursing, horse training management, barrel race training and similar studies.”  He said the college wants to maintain contact with area high schools by offering additional current technical educational courses whether it’s welding or building trades as another expansion area.

“We’re also looking at international students as our fourth initiative.  It won’t be done immediately, but we have seen some good models and we’ve done this in the past,” he added.  Marrin included some athletes as a part of the international growth and they’ll try to expand those numbers as well.  The last of the five initiatives, he said, focuses on local revenue generation through college students and activities.  “One of the increases comes from our sports teams and athletics programs,” he offered, noting the accomplishments in that area from Chad DeBono, LCC Enrollment Services Director.

DeBono outlined some tentative plans to increase the number of students above and beyond the schools’ limitation of 120 athletes who have signed LOIs or Letters of Intent to attend Lamar Community College through its athletic programs.  The concept is to increase the numbers by another 45 students.  “There may be some limitations on a team, baseball for example, when you have nine men out of 32 on a roster who get to play.  The coaches are great at making all the members feel as though they’re a part of the campus experience,” he told the commissioners.  He estimated the increase in full time students would net the college around $240,000 after scholarships had been paid out.  Another option would be to use the Colorado Pride Scholarship plan which LCC could pay from the general fund.  A student who didn’t receive an LOI could apply for the scholarship and use the $1,000 stipend for their tuition.  Another option, DeBono said, would be to increase the baseline of athletic recruitment through incentive scholarships.  If coaches recruit students over their LOI, they can give an additional $1,500 scholarship per student to add to their baseline scholarships.  He added, that although he acknowledges that it can be a struggle, “The coaches have really jumped on board in their recruitment efforts and based on what I’ve heard from them, I’m really excited about what the fall will be in terms of those numbers.”

DeBono said the college is taking a long view of developing soccer at the school, “We’re planning this out from three to five years away, but we want to add an AJC Double A, Division One soccer program.  We had a club in the past, but it was difficult to compete against schools that were more developed than we were.”  He added that an intramural team could also help attract students in the future.  President Marrin added that a strong athletic program for the college, also translates to an improved economy for the town with purchases at restaurants, gas stations and motels whenever LCC hosts an event that brings in visitors, such as their rodeo competitions.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessCityCommissionerscommunityCountyEconomyEducationFeaturedLamarProwers CountySchoolSportsYouth

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