Future Plan

OCC Future Plan, Updates and FAQs

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.  

Over the next three years, we will make changes across academic programs, support services and educational spaces. This 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 in 2025.  

Health Sciences programs will move from the Highland and Southfield campuses to the Orchard Ridge campus in Fall 2025. Orchard Ridge campus buildings will be renovated into state-of-the art learning spaces. The Highland Lakes campus will close in Fall 2025. 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 will open 2025. 
  • The Skilled Trades & Advanced Technology Building construction begins on the Auburn Hills campus in Fall 2024.
  • Renovations to CREST facility for police, fire and emergency service professional training will begin in Fall 2025.
  • 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 will be put on the real estate market in December. Administration staff will relocate to the campuses to be closer to our students, faculty and staff. OCC will work closely with local officials to help ensure a new owner will develop the site in the best interest of the neighborhood.  

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 to success for our students. The changes we make in the next three years 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 
  • Creating Centers of Excellence by campus to centralize our investment in growing programs 

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: November 16, 2022

How will these changes affect me?

Current OCC students

We are implementing these changes over the next three years and some major changes such as the closing of the Highland Lakes campus will not take place until 2025, 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. Creating a hub of student support for greater collaboration, vibrant spaces, and a consistent and convenient student experience.  

To pave the way for student success, it’s important to design campuses to allow for greater employee collaboration and foster a consistent and convenient student experience through vibrant spaces. We will create hubs of support for in-person and online students by Fall 2023.  

Student Services Deans: To provide a more consistent student experience, Student Services Deans will no longer be tied to a campus starting in December 2022. Instead, they will serve students College-wide in the functional areas of enrollment, student engagement and student support.    
2. Creating Centers of Excellence to allow centralized investment in growing programs and simplify students’ pursuit of career education.  

We are investing heavily in our programs. This includes:  

  • Skilled Trades & Industrial Technology Building: Construction will begin on the Auburn Hills campus in Fall 2024.
  • Culinary Studies Institute: This will open on the Royal Oak campus in 2025. 
  • Combined Regional Emergency Services Training (CREST) facility renovations: These will begin on the Auburn Hills campus in Fall 2025. 

Health Sciences concentrated on one campus in 2025 

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 in Fall 2025. 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 will close in Fall 2025. OCC leadership will work closely with faculty, staff and our unions on specific details and decisions as we move toward 2025. Our goal is that any employee changes will be made through attrition. We will also work 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. 

3. Additional consolidation and renovations 

This will include:  

  • Closure of District Office: We will be selling this location Bloomfield Hills, putting it on the real estate market in December 2022. We will work closely with local officials to help ensure a new owner will develop the site in the best interest of the community. Administration will relocate 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. As of November 2022, more than 50% of all Winter 2023 enrollments were in online courses. Demand is high, and in recent semesters, we have experienced large wait lists for online classes.  

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, and enhance their experience and ensure their success.  

In studying our outcome data, OCC’s 6-year graduation rate is at 13%. By comparison nationally, 31% of students complete their credentials at their original institution.  

A graduation rate that is less than half of the national average is not sustainable. As a top transfer institution, OCC’s 13% graduation rate does not apply to transfer students. This is only focused 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 two regional goals to increase graduation rates:  

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

Identifying and resolving College-wide barriers to student equity and program completion will improve the success of our students.