Spring enrollment up despite economy

Spring enrollment up despite economy

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College Director of Communications
417.447.2655 publicinfo@otc.edu
Steve Koehler
Coordinator of Publications (417) 447-2666 koehlers@otc.edu

By Steve Koehler

Ozarks Technical Community College continues to see substantial enrollment growth in the midst of the current economic downturn.

Four-week numbers for the spring semester show enrollment up 6.9 percent overall from last spring with a total of 10,588 students taking classes. Credit hours taken have increased 7.7 percent to 101,999.

“I believe that half of the increase is based on the hard times we are in and half is due to OTC continuing to meet the needs of people in our service area,” said Dr. Hal Higdon, president of OTC.

“I think it shows that when the times are tough, they know that going to a community college is the best thing they can do to improve their lives. More education and training are going to help you.”

The College saw growth at its main campus as well as at its other education centers, at the Richwood Valley campus in Christian County and within its online offerings.

• Branson/Hollister Education Center: 319 enrolled, up 25.1 percent

• Lebanon Education Center: 362 enrolled, up 2.3 percent

• Waynesville Education Center: 120 students (first spring semester of classes)

• Richwood Valley campus: 807 enrolled, up 19.6 percent

• Online courses: 1,175 enrolled, up 35.8 percent.

• Main campus: 7,358 enrolled, up 2.3 percent.

“In these difficult economic times, it is even more important for higher education to be convenient, accessible, and affordable for all.  The College strives to support the local economies of communities within the service region through high quality workforce, technical, and general education,” said Dr. Sue Moore, dean of extended campuses and college outreach.

Dr. Higdon said it has been the College’s No. 1 priority to offer students what they need to earn a degree or certificate and gain employment. This is all done with minimum cost to taxpayers with the lowest local tax rate in the state, he added.

“We are doing more with less more than any other school in the state. I think that says a lot about how we operate OTC ,” Dr. Higdon said.

And, according to Dr. Higdon, the College will continue to be the portal through which students can improve their employment chances and help turn the economy around.

“In an economy where the wheels are in danger of coming off, we are the mechanics that can keep the car running. People can’t get jobs without proper training and it only makes sense to come to a community college like OTC to get that training,” he said.

Steve Koehler is coordinator of publications at Ozarks Technical Community College.