QUEENSBURY — The number of SUNY Adirondack students has dropped by 12% since last year.
College officials expect to have at least 2,791 students after high school students finish enrolling in college courses over the next few weeks, and SUNY Adirondack President Kristine Duffy told a joint meeting of Warren and Washington county committees the college should meet its budgeted enrollment.
Duffy said low-income students have been hit hard by the pandemic and some are choosing not to return.
The widespread worker shortage has played a role in depressing enrollment, she said.
“There are jobs out there if people have a choice and they prefer to work than go to college right now,” she said.
Duffy pointed to positive signs, including a 4% increase in full-time students. Also, 250 students are staying in the 400-bed dorm, much better than last year.
Duffy said the college has had success in recruiting out-of-state students and student-athletes. And 50 students from Qatar are enrolled, which is more than last year.
The college also has 22 students enrolled at Washington Correctional Facility as part of its prison education program.
It’s exciting to see activity on campus again, Duffy said.
“You can see even through a mask that students are smiling and happy to be back on campus,” she said.
Duffy said masks are required in all indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Weekly testing is held for anyone who has not submitted proof of vaccination.
The college is working on its new strategic plan, called Adirondack 2025, and in late October, it will host a community dialogue on how to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for students.
The college has received a new federal grant for the Trio program, intended to help vulnerable students, particularly first-generation college students and those from low-income families.
Duffy said the college is working to provide more flexible schedules for employees.
College officials also sought support for capital projects. Ann Marie Scheidegger, vice president for administrative services, said the major project next year is repair and replacement of campus parking lots for $1.1 million.
These projects are not funded through the counties but mostly through donations and chargebacks, the money the college receives when students from outside Warren and Washington counties attend.
Michael Goot covers politics, crime and courts, Warren County, education and business. Reach him at 518-742-3320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.