For the second consecutive year, Lee College is celebrating its highest enrollment in the institution’s 89-year history. This fall, the student headcount increased to 8,619 – a 2.2 percent jump compared to the same time last year.
“Our upward trajectory in enrollment is driven by our continued commitment to the long-term strategies we put into practice during the pandemic around the core value that Lee CARES,” said Dr. Lynda Villanueva, Lee College president. “I can say with confidence that few colleges are seeing these outcomes.”
One of the approaches that Dr. Villanueva referred to is a focus on personal, one-on-one recruitment efforts in partnership with area high schools to help graduating students feel like they belong at Lee and walk them through the registration process before they even leave commencement with their high school diplomas.
“Our Student Services team has put a lot of effort into making personal connections with prospective students and helping them make plans and take action while they are still in high school,” explained Scott Bennett, associate vice president of student services. “Rather than getting students to sign up in July and August, which are the busiest months, we held registration events in April, May and June this year. We were able to get more students enrolled earlier and spend time getting to know those students before they started college.”
Other plans put in place to ensure student success include First Time Free at Lee, which offers new students tuition, fees and e-books at no cost. The college’s enhanced course delivery options allow students who work during the day or care for families a choice on how they want to learn. They include Mytime, LeeStream, MyFlex Hybrid and Face-to-Face.
“Retaining students from semester to semester can be a challenge. The initiatives we established will provide a path to success starting the day they walk into the classroom to the day they walk across the graduation stage,” said Dr. Douglas Walcerz, provost and vice president of academic and student affairs.
Further, the college is unified in delivering the ideal student experience to everyone who enrolls. This goal stretches beyond financial assistance to include wraparound support services to help with transportation, food, childcare and other obstacles students might face.
“Breaking down the barriers to a student’s education is one of our top priorities,” said Villanueva. “There is no reason anyone, a recent high school graduate, new parent, or someone looking to switch careers, should be excluded from a college education.”