MCC Daily Tribune
President's Weekly Message
This week, I'll be addressing three questions that have come in, covering facilities, software, and enrollment:
I have wondered for a long time why the door to building 8 is handicap accessible, and when you turn to the left to enter building 7, the doors there are handicap accessible but the opposite doors going into building 9 are not handicap accessible. I have seen many people struggle with this over the years.
I asked CFO/VP for Administrative Services Simmons for assistance in responding to this question. He shared that, while the doors in question do not have automatic operators, they meet the requirements to be handicap accessible. While many believe that such doors must have automatic operators, this is not required by NYS Building Code. If the building owner elects to provide automatic door operators, which come at a significant cost, then these operators must meet requirements established by code. Based on this question and other interest, Facilities is looking at the cost and requirements that would follow if MCC were to add automatic operators to these doors and potentially others.
Why is it that Monroe Community College does not have electronic transcripts? With the new Excelsior Scholarship here, an overwhelming amount of students need PDF files of their college transcripts. It seems as though we are behind the curve in this regard and updated technology in general.
VP Holmes reports that Student Services agrees completely with the need for electronic transcripts and is in the middle of assessing potential solutions. Any effective solution must contain features that integrate with Banner to eliminate the current process of manual entry (e.g., GPAs, individual grades on prerequisites), allow for automated routing to our imaging system so that staff no longer need to scan documents, and provide a way for students--whose fees include these charges--to request transcripts without having to make payment. Once the assessment is completed, the division will implement the technology that will best offer improved services to our students.
As a side note, the search for a solution has been extended due to the College's freeze on software purchases. We are currently inventorying MCC's software and enterprise programs to determine the capacity, use, and effectiveness of the (many) programs the College already owns. It appears that MCC has never completed a full inventory of its software purchases, and as our recent work with Ellucian (Banner) has shown, we are not always using the full functionality of the software we do own. This inventory will be complete in September and will likely result in new guidelines, including a structured needs assessment and a full accounting of implementation and maintenance costs prior to purchase.
I keep hearing that some other community colleges are growing while MCC's enrollment is falling, but then the president and others say that community college enrollment overall is falling. Which is it?
The answer to this question begins with another: what do we count in enrollment? As enrollments have declined, colleges have started to adopt different definitions about what "counts" in enrollment, which makes any comparison challenging.
For illustration, let's look at Fall 2016 publicly reported headcount enrollment from two SUNY community colleges in similarly sized communities with similar demographics (please refer to attached chart): MCC and XCC (actual college, name withheld).
Publicly Reported Headcount Enrollment
So, MCC and XCC are about the same size, right? Well, maybe not.
- First Time: 3,172
- Transfer: 1,322
- Continuing/Returning: 9,001
- Concurrently in High School: not included
- Other: 92
- Total: 13,587
- First Time: 2,542
- Transfer: 419
- Continuing/Returning: 5,586
- Concurrently in High School: 4,086
- Other: 7
- Total: 12,640
(a table with these figures is attached)
It appears that XCC is including high school concurrent enrollment (sometimes called high school dual enrollment) in its headcount. Yet, these students are still in high school: they have not graduated. In fact, they are still counted in their local high school enrollment figures, too.
MCC follows the standard reporting practice of not including concurrent students in our headcount. However, if we were to do so, our Fall 2016 headcount would jump by over 4,000 students, making MCC's headcount more than 17,587--or about 5,000 higher than XCC.
Not all enrollment is equal, which is why NYS does not fund colleges on headcount: instead, it funds colleges on the basis of their full time equivalent students or FTE. This measure is calculated by taking all the state-aidable credit hours taken at a college and dividing by 30, which is considered a full time student load. FTE is the state's way of cutting through the many definitions of headcount enrollment.
Back to the question: can we tell if enrollment is falling or rising across SUNY's community colleges?
The answer is in the SUNY system's FTE enrollment. And, across SUNY, FTE has declined. In fact, despite modest increases in state base aid in each of the past four years, total funding to the community colleges has fallen, which means that FTE enrollment is falling, not at just one college or a few but at almost all.
Do you have a question or a topic that you would like me to address in an upcoming Wednesday Message? Ask your question or suggest a topic on the blog or convey it anonymously using this link.
Table -- President's Wednesday Message.pdf
Office of the President