The Hopkinsville Community College main campus saw a slight increase in enrollment for the spring semester — around 1%. Though the Fort Campbell campus enrollment dropped from 662 students to 619 for the spring semester, around a 6% decrease.

“Obviously we’ve got some positive things happening here on the Hopkinsville campus,” said Angel Prescott, HCC chief student affairs officer, Tuesday at the school’s board of directors meeting.

The drop in enrollment at the Fort Campbell campus could have come from outside factors, Prescott said.

“I believe (the enrollment drop) is not a testament to our services or our academic offerings,” she said. “You might recall in January, right as school was getting ready to gear up for us, there was some international news happening which left a lot of military folks kind of unsure about what was going to be happening for them over the next two to four months.”

In January, relations between the U.S. and Iran soured leading to worry that Fort Campbell soldiers could be deployed overseas.

“We see that a lot on our Fort Campbell campus,” Prescott said. “If things like that are happening … they will hold off (on registering for school) because they may be preparing for some sort of deployment.”

Overall, the total enrollment for the college is down 1% for the spring semester. But, Prescott noted, those numbers could increase.

HCC employs two eight-week sessions each semester. Students can sign up for each session instead of the entire semester.

“I know that our Fort Campbell colleagues are working really hard to get some students enrolled in second eight-week courses if they are available to do that,” she said.

Although the school is currently in good fiscal shape, each drop in enrollment causes a drop in revenue. For the 2020 fiscal year, the school’s budget shows that around 59% of all revenue comes from tuition and mandatory fees.

Although HCC is a public college and part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, only 25% of the school’s revenue actually comes from the state.

“HCC is a tuition driven and tuition dependent institution,” said Dale Leatherman, HCC chief business affairs officer. “Without tuition and fees we wouldn’t be able to operate.”

He added that a lot of the time when public colleges increase tuition, it is because the state hasn’t increased funding as costs rise.

“A lot of people feel the states fund all or most of college budgets,” he said. “That is actually not true.”

Prescott told the board that over the next five years, the high school graduating classes are much smaller than average. That will lead all colleges in the state looking for other ways to bring in revenue.

“While we see that negative 1% (in enrollment),” she said. “We’re actually pretty proud of the retention of our students from the fall to the spring.”

In the previous school year, the retention rates were much lower at HCC.

“There’s an enrollment piece, bringing in new students,” Prescott said about bringing in students and revenue. “But there’s a retention piece, keeping the students we have here.”

Reach Jon Russelburg at 270-887-3241 or jrusselburg@kentuckynewera.com.

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