By Kristen Dragotto
Missourian Staff Writer
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty for East Central College, including its enrollment for fall.
According to statistics from ECC, this time last year the college had 1,427 students enrolled to attend the college in the fall. This year there are 843 students enrolled for the fall 2020 semester.
President Dr. Jon Bauer told The Missourian, when comparing the numbers, it is important to note that the college lost a lot of time while it has been closed.
“We have time now to reach out to students and boost those numbers,” he said. “The college has the potential to be even with the numbers we had last year.”
While fall enrollment is down, ECC reported that enrollment for summer classes had a slight increase with 751 students enrolled, which is one more than last year.
Bauer said that last year the college saw a 30 percent increase in summer enrollment numbers after it offered the Three for Free program.
“I am very encouraged where ECC is with our summer enrollment numbers,” he said.
Bauer added that he hopes students continue to enroll in the college and ECC is working to ensure that happens.
It is possible that the college will see some new faces as some students choose to stay in the area due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said ECC is focused on not only meeting their needs, but also the needs of students who have been greatly impacted by the pandemic.
“It is important that ECC stays in touch with students who do not know what their path looks like now,” Bauer said. “ECC wants to communicate that this is a good and safe environment.”
ECC advisers, counselors and staff are working with current students virtually through phone, email, text and by appointments to see what their needs are, he said.
“It is important we stay in contact with our students so we don’t lose any one along the way,” Bauer said.
While the college is working with assisting its current students, it is still working with helping new students.
“We have a lot to offer and this is a good place for students to begin their collegiate career,” Bauer said. “Though we don’t know what the fall is going to look like, we are prepared with several plans to meet the needs of our students.”
The college will still hold remote classes if it returns to in-person classes this fall, for those students who are unable to come to campus or feel unsafe doing so.
Bauer said for students who learn best in a traditional classroom setting, the college is making plans to ensure they succeed.
ECC is still available for all registration, counseling and advisement needs by appointment only.
For more information on East Central College, visit eastcentral.edu.