The Daily Express

Owens Community College Enrollment Continues to Climb, Eclipsing All-Time Records

Owens Community College's faculty member, Jim Chamberlain, Part-time Instructor in Biology, gives a microbiology lecture to one of the many capacity Summer Semester classes on the Owens Toledo-area and Findlay Campuses.

Owens Community College - the fastest-growing community college of its size in the United States - has achieved yet another record-breaking enrollment with 6,070 students enrolled for the Summer Semester.

The College's FTE (full-time equivalency) grew by more than 34 percent, which is statistically the highest mark ever recorded in Owens' 37-year history. In addition, this marks a 22 percent headcount increase over last summer's enrollment of 4,989.

"With more than 6,000 students enrolled for the Summer Semester, and over 36,000 credit and non-credit students annually, more entry-level college students are choosing Owens Community College over any other college or university in Northwest Ohio," said Gary Dettling, Owens Vice President of College Advancement. "This speaks volumes of Owens' ability to deliver a high quality education at an affordable price."

Dettling added Owens Community College is currently up 11 percent for the Fall Semester. "If these current enrollment trends continue, the College will need to explore the possibility of renting outside classroom space and/or purchasing modular classrooms. We will do whatever it takes to meet the educational needs of our students," he said.

Since becoming a comprehensive community college in 1994, Owens has recorded 22 consecutive semesters of headcount increases.

"We take very seriously our commitment to offering a high quality college education that is also affordable," said Bill Ivoska, Owens Interim Vice President of Student Services. "Our phenomenal growth is a testimony that the community welcomes this commitment."

This Summer Semester, there are 5,129 students on the Toledo-area Campus - up from 4,150 last summer (24 percent increase). The Findlay Campus headcount is 941 compared to 839 last summer (12 percent increase).

Ivoska added that many area residents who attend a four-year college or university also are taking advantage of Owens' small classes and personal attention this summer by enrolling in classes for transfer purposes.

Due to recent state funding cuts already in effect, most colleges and universities around the state are raising tuition. Summer transfer students attending Owens are currently saving more than $350 per three credit hour course.

"The transferability of Owens' credits continues to be a tremendous asset for area residents," Ivoska said. "Also, with the lowest tuition of any college or university in Northwest Ohio, it is important that everyone has access to a high quality, affordable education."

Of the more than 1,600 new students enrolled for the Summer Semester, 32 percent are area residents who attend another college or university during the traditional academic year, which is an 11 percent increase from last year. These students are currently enrolled in Owens' classes for the purpose of transferring credits earned back to their four-year institution. For the Summer Semester, there are currently more than 1,800 students who have transferred to Owens from another college or university, or who after taking classes at the College, intend on transferring to another four-year institution.

For Kim Gogel of Perrysburg, a junior who is a double major in French and French Education at Miami University of Ohio, the opportunity to take courses at Owens, as both a Post-Secondary Option (PSO) student in high school and now as a four-year college student, is allowing her fulfill many of her general education requirements, while also enhancing the possibility of graduating from Miami within four years.

"What's nice about taking classes at Owens is that credits transfer to most of the four-year colleges and universities within the state of Ohio," said Gogel, a 2000 Perrysburg High School graduate, who is currently taking a Sociology course at Owens. "The affordability of Owens was another major reason I decided to take classes at the community college."

While in high school, Gogel decided that in order to prepare herself for college she would take a few classes as a PSO student. "The education I received at Owens as a PSO student was very challenging and prepared me for the type of classes I would take at Miami University," she said.

Gogel, who has a 3.4 grade point average at Miami, also added, "Many of my friends from high school took classes at Owens as PSO students, and many of those same friends are taking classes this summer, which will transfer back to their four-year colleges and universities."

"Taking classes at Owens Community College during summer increases the likelihood for Kim to graduate from Miami in four years," said Sue Gogel, Kim's mother.

Owens has established transfer agreements with 20 colleges and universities in the surrounding Northwest Ohio area and beyond. These agreements allow a student to transfer to: Antioch College, Ashland University, Bluffton College, Bowling Green State University, Cleveland State University, Defiance College, Eastern Michigan University, Heidelberg College, Lourdes College, Michigan State University, Northwestern College, Ohio State University, Tiffin University, University of Findlay, University of Michigan, University of Toledo, University of Windsor, Wayne State University, Wright State University and Youngstown State University.

"Our students tell us that expert faculty members who can provide personal attention in small classes is what draws them to Owens," Ivoska said. "We have become a large institution, but it still has a small, friendly feel on campus."

The full-time equivalency (FTE) for both campuses is 1011.60 - up 34 percent from Summer Semester 2001 (754.87).

On the Toledo-area Campus, FTE is 856.57 up 38 percent from last summer (622.87). The FTE for the Findlay Campus is 155.03 - up 17 percent from last summer (132.00).

According to a College Market Assessment Study conducted this past May by AZG Research of Bowling Green, another reason for the significant enrollment increase can be attributed to findings stating that 99 percent of the College's alumni would recommend Owens to a friend. This segment of the study has a margin of error of 5.6 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.

More than 1,250 individuals representing prospective students and their parents, consumers, businesses and the College's alumni from the surrounding Northwest Ohio area were polled by AZG for this study. Overall, Owens now has graduated more than 20,000 students since the College was founded in 1965.

Owens also experienced a 40 percent increase in minority enrollment over the previous summer. This is the largest percentage minority enrollment increase for a semester in the College's history.

Ivoska said that enrollment growth was spread across the technical degree areas, as well as the Arts and Science programs that offer students the first two years of a bachelor's degree with transfer to a four-year college or university.

On the Toledo-area and Findlay campuses, Owens serves more than 36,000 credit and non-credit students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and the lowest tuition in Northwest Ohio. Owens Community College offers over 100 career-oriented programs and majors in Agriculture, Business, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.

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