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Student growth: Co-Lin Natchez campus sees higher enrollment

JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Leanne Webb, left, winces as classmate Kendrianna Tenner attempts to light a Bunsen burner while the two worked on a practical examination during their microbiology class on Thursday afternoon at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Natchez.
JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT
Leanne Webb, left, winces as classmate Kendrianna Tenner attempts to light a Bunsen burner while the two worked on a practical examination during their microbiology class on Thursday afternoon at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Natchez.

NATCHEZ — Copiah-Lincoln Community College has seen a decline in enrollment of approximately 3 percent system wide, but the school’s Natchez campus has seen an increase in students who are enrolled full-time.

According to Co-Lin’s unaudited numbers as of Jan. 30, the Natchez campus saw a 12.3 percent increase in full-time students over the same period last year. Unaudited enrollment numbers reflect students who are enrolled at the beginning of the semester but are taken before the date when the final student count is set.

In spring 2012, Co-Lin Natchez had 698 full-time students, whereas in spring 2013 that number was 784. The Simpson and Wesson campuses saw slight decreases.

Co-Lin President Ronnie Nettles said the early numbers will likely drop some when the official audit of students is completed during the sixth week of the spring semester. But he also said the increase in full-time students shows that

JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Instructor Melissa Adams, center, hands out paperwork to her students during a microbiology class on Thursday afternoon at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Natchez.
JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT
Instructor Melissa Adams, center, hands out paperwork to her students during a microbiology class on Thursday afternoon at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Natchez.

enrollment in Natchez is correcting past trends.

“While the number in Natchez was up a little bit, the reality was that it was down a lot last year,” Nettles said. “The real drop came for Natchez last year, so to be stabilizing there is good news, and I hope the same thing will happen at our other campuses and they will all will move forward.”

An increase in full-time enrollment at any campus is good because the school’s state funding is based in part on how many Mississippi residents are considered full-time students at the college, Nettles said.

The president said the college would continue to focus on recruiting both high school students and adults who are looking for further job training or retraining.

“We are glad (enrollment) is up a little in Natchez, so I think we will start to see a little growth again,” he said.