The preliminary number of students enrolled at Northwest College during spring 2020 is 1,514, a 2% increase over spring 2019’s headcount at the same point in the semester. Though the number of students has increased, students are taking fewer credits. Total credits enrolled has decreased by 4%, compared to the same point in time last spring.
In addition, Northwest College’s most recent data indicates retention and graduation rates have been boosted to a record high as student success initiatives help more individuals reap the benefits of earning a degree.
Of full-time, first-time, degree-seeking students, 44% of the 410 students who started at NWC in fall 2016 earned a degree or certificate within 150% of their program’s normal completion time, which is three years for associate degrees.
Compared to national averages, Northwest College’s completion rates are much higher than the 29% completion rate for public, two-year institutions.
For the past three groups of incoming students (cohorts), 59-60% of students either graduated or transferred within three years of starting at NWC. This combined graduation/transfer rate has increased by 6% over the past 10 years, which indicates that completion initiatives started during this time are helping students achieve their goals.
“It’s important to note that students often have different goals while attending a community college,” NWC President Stefani Hicswa said. “For some, they plan to transfer, while others attend to improve work skills or for personal growth purposes. Not all students come to college with the intention of graduating.”
Additionally, of full-time, first-time, degree-seeking students starting in fall 2018, 65% were retained by NWC in fall 2019. This percentage was the highest retention rate of all the Wyoming community colleges, and NWC has had higher retention rates than the state average for eight of the past 10 years. National retention rates for the past 10 years at public, two-year institutions have ranged from 58% to 62%. NWC’s rates are comparable to national rates.