“Delta really wanted to have a presence in downtown Saginaw. The process to get state funding for the building actually takes quite a while, so the idea for this campus probably started 8 to 10 years ago,” says Kristy Nelson, Delta College's Director of Learning Centers.
Looking at the student information of their satellite campus in Buena Vista, Delta saw that most of the students enrolled there actually lived in the downtown area.
“Delta wanted to meet people where their needs were at, so we kept working to make it happen, working with the state, and here we are today,” Nelson says.
The community, both organizations and individuals, also saw the need for Delta’s downtown campus.
“I’m just amazed at all the different people within the community, the agencies within the community that have come, toured the building and said how excited they were to have us on board in the downtown area. It’s just been overwhelming,” she says.
“The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce had a big presence, the Downtown Saginaw Association, and so many other stakeholders contributed and added vision to what this campus needed to be.”
Nelson says that even before campus was complete, people would wander into the building asking for information.
That excitement has translated into some impressive enrollment numbers.
“Our initial goal was to have 400 students for our first fall semester,” Nelson says. “We had 630.”
Nelson also says that they’re seeing dual-enrollment students come in from outside the Saginaw area.
“We’re located right off the highway here in downtown, so we’re more visible and people are seeing that could just hop off the highway and come in for a class,” she says.
Along with being easier to get to, Delta also offers services to make it easier to prospective students to enroll.
“We have onboarding events the second Tuesday of every month from 1pm to 4pm where agencies can bring in groups of people and we have a team ready to help them with their enrollment needs,” Nelson says. “But we also deliver those services every day, so anyone can walk in at any time and we’ll help them fill out the application and the FAFSA. Through a Trio Grant we have an Educational Opportunity Center where they really can walk people through the enrollment process one-on-one.”