On-campus enrollment is down, but Barton Community College appears to be maintaining steady growth for a sixth consecutive year, college officials reported.
The end of the fall semester revealed a 6.5 percent increase over the fall 2011 semester, which is a nine percent increase since fall 2010, for all of Barton’s service locations combined.
The Barton main campus enrollment showed a decrease of about 4.2 percent from fall 2011 to 2012, bringing the total unduplicated headcount to 1,736 students served. That is a decrease of more than 10 percent since 2010. However, BARTonline, the college’s online learning component, saw a 24 percent increase in fall 2012 compared to fall 2011, thereby impacting face-to-face course enrollments.
Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said the trend of more students taking online classes versus face-to-face is a natural transition consistent with an evolving technological world. He said Barton is proud to be ahead of the curve.
“I think we’re settling into a new number – into a new norm,” he said.
Heilman added that a state initiative to cover the cost of tuition for high school students who take career and technical education courses, known as Senate Bill 155, could help bolster local enrollments in the future.
Fort Riley & Fort Leavenworth campuses
Barton’s military satellite location serving Fort Riley posted a slight enrollment decrease, while the new satellite serving Fort Leavenworth has grown since opening six months ago.
The fall 2012 semester enrollment at Fort Leavenworth, which was its very first, was 147 students. It has already surpassed that number with 210 so far this spring.
Director of Fort Leavenworth Learning Services Michele Sumter said she anticipates the growth will continue.
“It’s been successful because it’s a quality program, with quality curriculum and teachers, and they care about the community,” she said. “The program we offer is designed for the military community specifically.”
Fort Riley’s campus showed a slight drop in enrollment in fall 2012 compared to the previous fall semester at a nominal half of one percent. The unduplicated headcount has remained around 3,500 students per fall semester since 2010.
Dean of Fort Riley Learning Services Gene Kingslien said the small decrease is likely due to soldiers being deployed and taking their classes at a national training center.
The spring semester of 2012 ended with about 4,000, and the Fort Riley campus is on track to achieve a similar number this year.
Fort Riley’s enrollments also encompass classes at Barton’s Grandview Plaza campus, which offers training from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services Education and Hazardous Materials Management are also training options at the Grandview Plaza campus.