Last year, Edinburgh College fell short of its recruitment target, leading to a reduction in SFC funding.
But a freedom of information request from TESS now shows that the college is close to its recruitment target for 2016-17, as it continues to take on more students until the end of January. Of the 10,207 full-time students it planned to recruit, 9,018 were enrolled by last week, the figures show. Jonny Pearson, assistant principal for recruitment and retention, said: “We are in a much better position than we have been for the past four years. I am confident we will hit our credit target this year.”
Crucially, the college has also made significant inroads into retention. The FoI response states: “We have improved our retention rates from last year’s average for early withdrawal (5.2 per cent) to this year’s average (4.5 per cent), and this will have a significant impact on our final enrolment figure.”
Changes had been made to the college curriculum, Mr Pearson explained, and there was a strong focus on getting the right students on to the right courses. To do this, the college had increased engagement with careers advisers and headteachers in the area.
For the first time, the number of applications per student is now restricted to one rather than three.
Students could not previously transfer to courses they had not applied for but the new system of one application means that college staff are able to contact unsuccessful candidates and suggest a more suitable course option.
Staff had also found this a rewarding process, allowing them to utilise their extensive expertise, said Mr Pearson.
“The improvement in retention rates means we know we are performing better than in the previous year and we are on track to meet the target, with semester 2 recruitment ongoing.”