Grayson College current enrollment is slightly behind where it was at this time last year.

The school’s board of trustees discussed Fall 2017 enrollment and scholarship numbers at its recent meeting, noting as of Sept. 18 the total number of students enrolled at the college was 4,394 compared to last year’s fall semester enrollment of 4,425.

The number of dual credit students enrolled in the college increased to 1,144 from a previous 1,116 students for 2016. And of those, 121 students from Sherman and 77 students from Denison are currently enrolled for dual credit classes with the college.

Grayson College President Jeremy McMillen said although they are always focused on enrollment, it is not their only priority.

“One of the things we would like to do is to see more enrollment but enrollment isn’t the only thing we’re chasing,” McMillen said. “We need to make sure that the students we do enroll get through their classes. One of the things you saw is that we had a slight decrease. We have less students but they are taking more classes. And with those classes that they are taking — we know they’re on target. So it’s important to make sure that we do it in a way that we make sure the students are getting what they need as quickly as they can so we can get them out to the workforce.”

The drop in enrollment was not reflected in the amount of scholarship dollars awarded to students in 2017. As of Aug. 31 the Grayson College Foundation had raised approximately $1,695,286 exceeding the goal of $800,000.

“We’ve had a real good year in terms of providing scholarships,” McMillen said. “A few years ago, we had a state-wide grant that allowed us to offer a little over $600,000 worth of scholarships but absent that, we were still able to offer well over $500,000 in scholarships to the local communities.”

For the 2017-2018 school year, 515 scholarships were awarded to 396 students for a total of $604,936. The average award was $1,528 per student. Scholarships were split between renewals of pre-existing scholarships, 2017 high school graduates, non-2017 graduates, presidential scholarships and Morrison transfer scholarships.

McMillen explained the college believes a combination of scholarships and the introduction of an eight week semester will encourage enrollment, as well as program completion for students.

“Anytime you can help a student with a scholarship, it communicates several things to them,” McMillen said, explaining students feel as though they’re held accountable to perform well in their classes. “But the most important is that someone believes in them and is willing to invest in them. We feel like the gift impact is beyond the dollar that is given.”