Clark State Community College’s year-to-year enrollment is up three percent this fall.
It’s not the college’s largest enrollment increase, but increases are not too common these days for colleges, said Jennifer Dietsch, the school’s director of marketing.
“We’re incredibly proud of this year’s increases,” she said. “The trends that we’re seeing across the state and the country is that schools are not seeing enrollment increases, so to have an increase is a pretty big deal this year.”
Clark State currently has just over 5,100 students, up from last fall’s nearly 5,000 students.
“(Clark State is) one of the few two-year schools to have an increase this past year,” said Clark County Commissioner John Detrick. “We’re very proud of the fact that they have a good, healthy enrollment and provide a needed service to the community.”
The number of students attending Clark State from outside of Clark County has also increased. The number of students from Greene County increased by 11 percent, Champaign County students increased by 26 percent and Logan County students increased by 13 percent.
The school’s has two campuses in Springfield, and one each in Beavercreek and Bellefontaine.
The international student population has increased by 78 percent this year because of a growing amount of word-of-mouth recommendations from student to student, Dietsch said.
The number of credit hours in which students are enrolled has also increased this fall, to just over 48,400. That’s a two-percent increase from about 47,500 credit hours last year.
“There’s more students,” Dietsch said. “And then students are taking more classes per term.”
Dietsch said the convenience of block scheduling and additional online course offerings have encouraged students to take more classes. With these options, students are able to take several classes back-to-back during their day or remotely at any time.
Dietsch said Clark State’s increased enrollment has allowed the college to make a few additions.
She said the first floor of Rhodes Hall at the Leffel Lane campus in Springfield is being renovated to include a one-stop student services support center.
Tutoring, one of the student services, is also becoming more available to students. Clark State has adapted its tutoring model to accommodate more students. Sam Coons, of Springfield, a student at both the Beavercreek and the Springfield campuses and a tutor, said this allows students to walk in and get their homework questions answered by a tutor on staff instead of having to schedule an appointment.
The college is also building the Karen E. Rafinski Student Center, which will house a bookstore, cafeteria, study areas and recreational space.
Dietsch said Clark State’s affordable tuition is one reason why students, like Coons, are attracted to the college. Coons, a student at Clark State for almost two years, said he chose Clark State because tuition is low and the student body is small.
“You’re less of a number and more of a person at Clark State,” Coons said.
However, Coons said he’s enjoying having more students at the college.
“It’s exciting, because there’s just a lot of excitement and hustle and bustle,” said Coons, who attends classes in Beavercreek and Springfield. “People are all throughout the campus.”
Dietsch said Clark State’s course offerings across three counties and the Internet keep growing.
“We have some new programs that have come online both this year and the last couple years that have been created in response to workforce demand and needs within the region,” Dietsch said. “Our offerings continue to increase in Greene County as well as in Logan County.”
Coons said Clark State’s opportunity to educate more people will have a positive effect on the community.
“If students are on the campus, then students are learning, and more and more people are learning since enrollment is up,” Coons said. “When you go out and you thirst for knowledge, the world becomes a bit of a better place, and you become better yourself as a person when you learn.”
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