Future Plan

OCC Future Plan, Updates and FAQs

Updated December 8, 2023

Higher education is entering a period of significant change, and we are taking steps to adapt and thrive.  

For almost 60 years, OCC has been a vital part of Oakland County and surrounding communities.  
More than 1 million students have attended classes in nearly 100 programs in high-demand fields such as IT, health care, advanced manufacturing, emergency services and culinary arts. The higher education landscape is evolving, however, and national and local trends including declining enrollments, job market factors and student choice are driving the need for change.  

OCC has developed a strategic future plan to address these trends in order to enhance our students’ experience and ensure our viability for decades to come.  

Our Future Plan: One OCC 

In order to continue to deliver on our long-standing commitment to access, inclusion, equity, innovation and collaboration, we must adapt to changing realities by moving resources to meet student needs.  

Transformation across academic programs, support services and educational spaces will ensure we can further enhance the student experience, increase student success and be responsive to our community, while improving financial operations.  

Career opportunity growth is widely expected in health care in the coming years. To make health care education more convenient for students and invest in these growing programs, Health Sciences will be concentrated on one campus beginning in 2026.  

Health Sciences programs are planned to be moved from the Highland and Southfield campuses to the Orchard Ridge campus by Fall 2026. Orchard Ridge campus buildings will be renovated into state-of-the-art learning spaces. General Education classes will move from Highland Lakes to other campuses in Fall 2024, and the entire Highland Lakes campus is planned to close in Fall 2026. OCC will work closely with local officials to ensure the property continues to benefit the people of Waterford. The Southfield campus will continue to offer general education classes. 

We will continue investing heavily in our programs.

  • The Culinary Studies Institute on the Royal Oak campus is planning to open in 2025. 
  • The Skilled Trades & Advanced Technology Building construction on the Auburn Hills campus is on hold pending state funding approval. 
  • Renovations and expansion to the CREST facility for police, fire and emergency service professional training is in the design phases.
  • Ongoing renovation of general education spaces will continue over the next 10 years to keep spaces fresh and state-of-the-art.

OCC’s District Office in Bloomfield Hills has been sold. Administration staff have relocated to the campuses to be closer to our students, faculty and staff. 

While specific locations and areas at OCC will be affected more than others, everyone at the College will be impacted by this future plan.  

In order to create more vibrancy and energy across the college for our students, we need to reduce our footprint and focus activity in fewer spaces. Students and community members will experience us as one college, with both on-campus and online experiences, rather than just a collection of individual campuses. 

The core of the work we do remains the same, but it is clear that how we do it must change. As we continue to focus on student success and shift to becoming a student-ready college, OCC will continue to smooth the path for our students. The changes we make will enhance the student experience by:  

  • Increasing student retention and graduation rates 
  • Making student services more convenient 
  • Consolidating buildings and learning spaces to create more vibrant, well-maintained and safer, state-of-the-art teaching spaces 

These and other strategic decisions in our future plan will allow us to provide our students with a consistent high-quality experience – and ensure that we remain the college of choice, the partner of choice and the employer of choice for decades to come.  

For More Information 

OCC is woven into the fabric of Oakland County and we understand you may have questions about our future plan. We encourage you to review the FAQs below for more detailed information about what changes we are making, and why. As we begin to implement our plan, we will also update this page with the latest developments.  

Additional questions or concerns? You can email these to futureplan@oaklandcc.edu.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: October 13, 2023

How will these changes affect me?

Current OCC students

We are implementing these changes over the next few years and some major changes such as the closing of the Highland Lakes campus is not planned until 2026, to avoid impacting current students who take classes at this location. Our future plan focuses on improvements that will help us stay focused on our mission and enhance our current students’ experience. 

Future OCC students 

The changes we are making ensure we stay current as a healthy, valuable institution and remain the college of choice for all future students. 


Please visit InsideOCC for more information as we work together to implement this plan. 

Community members 

A stronger OCC also benefits our community members who partner with us and use our services. 

What changes are you making?

Changes in the future plan include:  

1. Centralizing growing programs and simplifying students’ pursuit of career education.  

We are investing heavily in our programs. This includes:  

Health Sciences concentrated on one campus planned for 2026

In the coming years, it is widely expected that there will be career opportunity growth in the health care field. To meet this demand, we are making several changes, including:  

  • Health Sciences programs: These will move from the Highland Lakes and Southfield campuses to the Orchard Ridge campus by Fall 2026. Our goal is to make health care education more convenient for students and invest in these growing programs with state-of-the-art learning spaces. 
  • Orchard Ridge campus buildings: These will be renovated. 
  • Highland Lakes campus: This is planed to close entirely in Fall 2026. Highland Lakes' general education courses will move to other OCC campuses in Fall 2024. Health Science courses are planned to move to Orchard Ridge by Fall 2026.  OCC leadership is working closely with faculty, staff and our unions on specific details and decisions as we move toward 2026. Our goal is that any employee changes will be made through attrition. We are also working closely with local officials to ensure the property continues to benefit the people of Waterford and the surrounding communities.
  • Southfield campus: Will continue to offer general education classes. 

2. Additional consolidation and renovations 

This will include:  

Closure of District Office: We have listed this location in Bloomfield Hills on the real estate market. We are working closely with local officials to help ensure a new owner will develop the site in the best interest of the community. Administration is relocating to the individual campuses to be closer to our students, faculty and staff.

Renovation of general education spaces: Ongoing renovation will continue over the next 10 years to keep our learning spaces fresh and state-of-the-art. 

What’s driving the need for these changes? 

Declining college enrollments 

This is a national trend affecting both community colleges and 4-year universities. OCC’s enrollment has declined by 15,000 students in the past 10 years. 

Fewer college-age students locally 

There are fewer college-age students now than there were when Millennials – the children of Baby Boomers and a much larger segment of the population – were attending college in large numbers. Oakland County follows this national trend.  

Job market factors 

A strong job market and high cost tend to provide disincentives to pursue college degrees and certifications. Some people are skeptical about the value of investing time and money in higher education.  

Student choice 

There is expanded interest in online classes, and many of our students now pursue a mixed-schedule model combining online and in-person classes. This allows for maximum flexibility and convenience, as well as the ability to take more credits. More than 50% of OCC enrollments are in online courses. 

OCC’s campus footprint 

At the same time, OCC has the largest square footage of all 28 Michigan community colleges. This existing infrastructure requires updates and renovations to maintain state-of-the-art learning environments for our students and faculty. 

Focus on student success 

With fewer people seeking to go to college, we need to do everything we can to ensure OCC is the college of choice for new students, retain our current students, enhance their experience, and ensure their success.    

In Fall 2022, OCC set a strategic goal to double our 6-year graduation rate of 13%. By 2023, that rate had increased to 14%. OCC is now pursuing several key strategies and tracking early momentum metrics toward achieving our goal.  

Our current graduation rate is not sustainable. As a top transfer institution, OCC’s 14% graduation rate does not apply to transfer students. This goal focuses on those who intend to complete an associate’s degree or certificate.  

Our students need to be able to attain the degrees and certificates that match their skill sets and start successful careers in their field of choice. Individuals with college degrees and certificates earn more money over time, contributing to a stronger community for all. 

We also strongly support both statewide and regional goals to increase graduation rates:  

  • State of Michigan “Sixty by 30” plan: Goal for 60 percent of working-age adults in the state to earn a degree or certificate by 2030. 
  • Oakland County’s “Oakland80” initiative: This also holds our community to a higher standard. We must operate more nimbly and efficiently to significantly increase our county’s postsecondary completion rate to 80%, for the benefit of our students, our community and our state. 

Identifying and resolving collegewide barriers to student equity and program completion will improve the success of our students and the prosperity of our county in fulfillment of OCC’s mission.