Students strolling through Palm Beach State College campus.
Photo by Palm Beach State College.
Fall classes kicked off at Palm Beach State College on Aug. 30 with enrollment up 6% compared with 2021, the first time enrollment at the college has increased since 2018. Nearly 25,000 students are enrolled for in-person or online classes.
Senior leaders at the college attribute strategic outreach, recruitment and marketing strategies to the enrollment increase. Two initiatives over the summer, Restart Your Dream and Fresh Start, also had a significant impact on enrollment.
Restart Your Dream offers free in-state tuition to 2,000 students who had enrolled at the college from fall 2017 to summer 2021 but did not complete a degree. More than 900 students enrolled this fall through the initiative, which is funded by the Foundation for Palm Beach State College.
The Fresh Start initiative is supported by CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief funding and aims to help students who attended PBSC between fall 2021 and summer 2022 but were unable to register for further classes because of unpaid tuition. The initiative lifted more than 1,500 student registration holds and paid their past-due balances.
“I think they’re coming out of the pandemic period, and people are getting back to normal trends,” says Stephen Joyner, the associate vice president for enrollment and retention. “We have enrolled more new students this fall than in the prior two fall terms. It’s a sign that high school students are starting to be interested in college again, and applications are up. During the pandemic, many high school graduates were taking time off. Now they’re starting to come back.”
While numbers aren’t where they were before the pandemic, enrollment is tracking upward. Joyner says, “We’re moving in the right direction. I’m optimistic that the trend will continue.”
In-person enrollment is up from fall 2021, but online courses remain more popular. “During the pandemic, students learned the convenience of taking online classes. If they are students looking for convenience, they can take online classes and not have to drive to a different campus or a campus at all,” Joyner says. “It can be easier to take online classes around their work or life schedules, but students who are interested in a more traditional college experience are taking in-person classes.”
To learn about enrollment and Palm Beach State College’s programs, visit www.palmbeachstate.edu/admissions/admissions-applications.aspx, or call 561-967-7222.
Correction 10/13/22: Classes began Aug. 30, not Sept. 20 as originally reported.