SMC Beats Enrollment Expectations

Enrollment at Southwestern Michigan College is a bit higher this year than had been expected. SMC President Joe Odenwald told the SMC Board of Trustees this week fall enrollment finished at 1,800 students, 88 higher better than budgeted. Odenwald had expected enrollment to be down due to COVID-19. He told the board he had predicted winding up between 1,650 and 1,700 by the time classes started September 8. The college this week also received some good news that aid from the state could be restored to the previous fiscal year level after a recent cut of $830,000. That will allow for a surplus to apply to the budget stabilization fund. Odenwald noted that unlike the situation many universities are facing, SMC has seen just four positive coronavirus cases since August 31. They were in three students and one staff member. He said he’d like to tell the Higher Learning Commission this coming April “we’ve increased our reserves because we’ve recognized how fragile the overall economy is right now, we’ve cut spending, and we’ve not laid anyone off.” He said he’s optimistic SMC can achieve that goal.