Cape school competition goes to college

4Cs lost 10.3% of its enrollment between 2009-12; Most other Southeastern MA public colleges showed enrollment growth

Part 1 of a series:

Competition heats up on local higher education scene

School competition has changed the landscape of K-12 education on Cape Cod in recent years. Now, school competition has climbed the ivory tower as competition heats up between area colleges.

Cape Cod Community College lost 10.3% of its enrollment between the 2009-10 school year and 2011-12. Meanwhile, most other public colleges in southeastern Massachusetts showed enrollment growth during the same years. According to data obtained from the National Center for Education Statistics, 4Cs enrolled 292 fewer “full-time equivalents” (FTE) in 2011-12 than it did in 2009-10. 2011-12 is the most recent year for which NCES offers this data. See the chart below.

During the same time period, enrollment at Bristol Community College grew by 3.8% and Massasoit Community College grew 3.6%. Among four year public colleges, Bridgewater State University grew its enrollment 5.26%, Mass Maritime grew 8.54% while UMass Dartmouth lost 5.24% of its undergraduate FTE enrollment.

Guess Who’s Coming to Yarmouth?

Bridgewater State University continues to advance its plan to open a satellite campus at the former MacArthur Elementary School in South Yarmouth, bringing it into head-to-head competition with 4Cs not only for students but for donor dollars, as well.

Ironically, BSU president Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria is an alumnus of Cape Cod Community College.

Press reports indicate that BSU representatives have been meeting with area school superintendents to explain the new campus’s offerings and opportunities.

Online Higher Ed a Factor

With many local colleges’ online learning programs in relative infancy, all of the area colleges must compete with a growing number of online degree programs. University of Phoenix, Southern New Hampshire University, Notre Dame College and Pennsylvania State’s “Worldcampus” are among the most popular online higher education programs, allowing students to take 100% of their coursework online, often at their own pace.

Whither 4Cs?

On May 12 contacted 4Cs President Dr. John Cox to request the school’s full-time equivalent enrollment for 2012-13 and 2013-14. We have also invited Dr. Cox to update us on his ambitious plans for 4Cs' online learning programs. President Cox told this reporter that he was occupied with budgets and commencement and needed more time to reply.

We will publish Dr. Cox’s remarks as soon as he is able to respond.

On the surface, 4Cs' enrollment gives cause for alarm. The Cape campus had the largest loss of enrollment of any community college in Massachusetts. The next highest loss of 6.07% was observed at Holyoke Community College. Bunker Hill Community College, on the other hand, grew by 16.94% during the same time period.

The next installment in this series will take a closer look at Cape Cod Community College. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on