As the national college enrollment numbers decline, it is a great accomplishment for Johnson College to not only retain students but to enroll more students than ever before, since its inception 103 years ago. This shows how the type of education Johnson provides is setting them up for success based on economic needs.
This summer, the College has reached a consecutive year of record-setting enrollment. Johnson College’s enrollment has risen to 108% with over 300 students who have deposited for the 2015-16 academic year to date. This is the largest freshman class for the two-year technical college.
Rita Munifo, Director of Enrollment said “all of the technology-driven programs offered at Johnson College prepare students for in-demand careers.” Munifo cites the 90% job placement rate as a key reason students choose to attend the college in North Scranton. Munifo explained the College’s enrollment benefits because of the length of the programs and the availability of jobs in hands-on fields. “Johnson College provides more opportunity because students get a degree in just two years, acquiring less debt than those students attending a four year institution and these in-demand degrees allow for students to be hired very quickly,” she said. Also, between 94% and 97% of Johnson College students receive some type of financial aid.
The College provides a type of education that suits many types of people. With new flexibility initiatives and dual-enrollment, the College is seeing an influx of transfer students, nontraditional students, and veterans seeking hands-on training. “One in every three students at Johnson College is a transfer student,” said Munifo. She also mentioned that the graduation rate for transfer students is 5% higher than the College’s average.
Johnson College is proud to also announce a zero percent tuition increase for the upcoming academic year. Due to the record-setting enrollment numbers for 2014-15, the administration was able to propose that tuition rates remain under $16,300 for a consecutive school year. The proposal was brought to Dr. Ann L. Pipinski, the finance department, and the president’s cabinet in the fall for approval. In early February, the board of directors approved the cost of tuition. The zero percent increase, however, does not include fees that vary by program and are dependent on resources necessary to teach students.
Melissa Ide, Senior Director of Student Engagement explained that the 265 freshmen that enrolled at Johnson College in the fall of 2014 were an integral part of the tuition stability. “The more students who enroll allow the College to accumulate more revenue without increasing tuition for students,” said Ide. Another factor that contributed to the pricing is retention of students. The College currently holds an 83% retention rate, which is relatively high in comparison to other institutions in the commonwealth. In relation to how the unchanged tuition will benefit retained students, Ide explained “a zero percent increase means more to a student who is already here, as they are able to budget the same amount of money for the next academic year.”
There is a significance to Johnson College achieving this unraised tuition agreement. Since the programs at the College are primarily technology based, it costs considerably more to provide the necessary equipment, and updates to that equipment for the students so they are best prepared to enter into the workforce with the latest, most advanced training. This has importance to the average type of student who attends Johnson College. “Our typical student falls within the middle class,” said Ide. “They may or may not be fully eligible for Pell or PHEAA grants. Keeping tuition at a manageable rate will help them plan for the next academic year and will not put them in severe loan debt post-graduation.”