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NWACC Sees Enrollment Drop, But Dip May Be Good News For NWA Economy

BENTONVILLE, AR. -- According to Northwest Arkansas Community College, enrollment numbers dropped for the second academic year in a row. This student slump may be good news for the NWA community.
"It sort of has two sides to it. It's positive because the economy has improved, so more people are getting jobs and they're able to better their families. As the economy tanks, then people decide they need to go back to college."
BENTONVILLE, AR. ---  Students at Northwest Arkansas Community College returned to school this week. While a Spring enrollment count isn't taken for a few weeks, the college is expecting a drop.

"Spring is normally smaller than the fall semester, but we do expect a decline for Spring 2013. When it's all said and done, the numbers finalize out at we expect to be down somewhere between the 6% to 7%," said Steven Hinds, Executive Director for Public Relations for NWACC.

There are a couple of reasons for fewer students. The first? A growing job market in NWA.

"It sort of has two sides to it. It's positive because the economy has improved, so more people are getting jobs and they're able to better their families.
As the economy tanks, then people decide they need to go back to college. When the economy improves, some of those people decide 'well I've gotten the job I want,'" said Hinds. " So, they may drop out and stop taking classes. It does mean that we will likely see a decline, just like community colleges in the state and the nation have done."

Also, in the Fall of 2013, a new policy was put in place. If a student has taken nine or more hours and failed all classes, he or she is not allowed to re-enroll at NWACC next semester.

Hinds said that new code kept 300 students out of the Spring 2014 semester. With the lower numbers, the school is also trimming its budget to accommodate the dip.

"Our board of trustees has approved a new one. We will be looking at what sort of changes need to be made to the budget for the Spring semester," said Hinds.

Even with a slump in student sign up, Hinds said the college plans on keeping students and their education at top of mind.

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