With the advent of the Texarkana campus and concurrent high school enrollment, the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope is holding its own in a period of decline at most colleges.
UACCH Chancellor Chris Thomason said reported headcount numbers at the beginning of the new semester showed a slight dip in combined enrollment compared to the fall semester of 2012.
Thomason said current headcount numbers totalled 1,471 students, compared with 1,496 students in the Fall, 2012, semester, or a dip of 1.7 percent. Yet, he pointed out, that compares with 1,383 students enrolled in the Fall, 2011, semester.
One of the significant differences has been the impact of the UACCH-Texarkana campus. Since classes began on the extension campus, enrollment has risen from 157 in 2012 to 215 in the current semester headcount, an increase of 36.8 percent, Thomason said.
“I feel quite comfortable that we are still doing quite well going forward,” he said.
Thomason pointed to the increased emphasis by the University of Arkansas System on its community college system, interconnected with the new Career Pathway program, and statistical data that show more high school students across Arkansas are choosing two-year colleges to begin their extended education.
And, while overall fall credit hours at UACCH totalled 14,287, showing a dip of 2.8 percent, total hours at the Texarkana campus rose 37.8 percent at 1,859 credit hours.
The net impact, Thomason pointed out, is the difference that having the Texarkana campus makes in the number of Miller County students who are no longer studying on the Hope campus.
In the initial headcount this month, UACCH-Hope enrolled 245 freshmen, the largest freshman class ever at the school. At the same time, UACCH-Texarkana enrolled 90 freshmen.
In the Spring, 2013, UACCH awarded 484 degrees and certificates to classes in Hope and Texarkana, capping a 134 percent increase in the number of degrees and certificates awarded on the Hope campus alone since 2006, Thomason noted.