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SUNY Brockport enrollment is declining 

Photo credit: Gio Battaglia

Enrollment at SUNY Brockport is going down as the years go on, and it isn’t because of the pandemic. 

According to Brockport’s enrollment summary for fall semesters, back in 2017 the number of total students attending Brockport was 7,180. The fall semester of 2022 had a total of 6,426 students enroll, making the total decline in six years 754 less students. 

Why are our numbers going down? Brockport’s Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Martin Abraham attributes the decline to three separate areas. 

“If you look at the data, our enrollment is really declining in three areas. One is Monroe County, one is in our transfer population and one is in our retention numbers,” Abraham said. 

Brockport’s largest loss has been with the transfer students. 

“Transfer enrollment is down because if you look at the community colleges their enrollment is way down. So it’s a harder market to be responsive to at this point,” Abraham said. 

In 2017 Brockport’s incoming transfer population was 1,007, this semester it was 580.  That’s a drop of almost 50% in the past six years. However, the incoming freshmen enrollment and graduate population has stayed stable over the past few years. In 2019, there were 1,086 freshman and in 2022 there were 1,052. The graduated population was 1,251 in 2019 and this year it is 1,277. 

Although enrollment at Brockport has been on the decline, SUNY Cortland’s has been rising. Cortland welcomed 1,384 freshmen students in the 2022 fall semester- over 300 more students than SUNY Brockport. 

Cortland had over 11,700 students apply for first year admission to the college. They attribute their overall popularity to their almost 70 academic majors, over 100 clubs and over 85% of their student population pursuing career readiness experiences like internships, undergraduate research and field placements. 

Cortland has an acceptance rate of 52.2% whereas Brockport’s rate is 58.1%; so why are we having less students enroll here? 

“We haven’t changed our admissions requirements. One of the things I know we’ve done is adjusted scholarship programs so then they provide a little bit more money.  I believe we’ve lowered the levels a little bit in some of those scholarship pools so more students can qualify,” Abraham said. 

The college is providing more opportunities for potential students to qualify for scholarships. They’re doing this in an attempt to entice more students to apply, knowing they can potentially get more money towards their education. 

The school has also instituted transfer scholarships for the first time.  

“Cost and affordability are incredibly important to our students and their families. The new scholarship program is aimed at helping achieve those goals of access and affordability. We now have one of the most competitive scholarship programs in New York state,” Sara Kelly, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management said. 

The college is also looking to add programs that are more accessible to draw in students to apply. 

“We’ve added a whole range of degree completion programs. These are for students who have some college credit but not a bachelor’s degree. Many of these are available online and we’ve done that deliberately because the individuals interested in those programs are typically working adults,” Abraham said. 

SUNY Brockport is not stopping there to bring bigger and better things to the college to attract potential students. 

“We’re trying to identify ways to make sure prospective students know about the outstanding quality of some of our programs,” Abraham said. 

To show prospective students these new and improved features of the school, Brockport has to advertise and get the word out on its social media. 

“When you do a Google search for any major, we want Brockport to be at the top of the list. These are the types of things we’re working to do a lot more of these days,” Abraham said. 

SUNY Brockport is implementing a plethora of innovative programs and scholarships to try and persuade prospective students to enroll. 

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