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.
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
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.