Barton Community College spring enrollment increased more than 9 percent in the past year, according to information from the Kansas Board of Regents. Fall enrollment grew by 5 percent, compared to the previous year.
According to the Board of Regents, headcount for the fall semester was 5,430, an increase of 257 students. Statewide, Kansas community colleges overall saw a loss of 189 students.
Spring headcount at BCC at 5,340 this year, the equivalent of 2,474 full-time students. In 2011, spring headcount was 4,885 and in 2010, it was 4,659.
Dean of Distance Learning Ange Sullivan said much of the growth can be attributed to BARTonline, the college’s online learning component.
“Our enrollment processes are streamlined and can be done completely online which opens the doors to military, non-traditional students, and a diverse population,” she said. “BARTonline courses are extremely economical and transfer to most colleges.”
Barton’s Vice President Dr. Penny Quinn agreed.
“Students known as the Internet Generation or Generation Always On are looking for ease of enrollment, convenience and low-cost, quality education. Old fashioned book learning is being replaced with learning on-demand,” she said. “BARTonline embodies these characteristics. We offer a variety of degree programs and certificates that can be completed entirely online.”
The main campus showed a decrease in headcount of about 3 percent compared to the previous year, and 4.7 percent compared to five years ago. The drop in students physically attending classes on campus is owed to the draw of taking online classes, which can be taken any time and thus fit students’ schedules, college officials said.
Those numbers are not indicative of the activity on campus, according to Brandon Steinert in BCC’s public relations department. More students are taking advantage of the 26 career and technical programs offered at Barton.
Dean of Workforce Training and Community Education Elaine Simmons said the college has also put many of its career programs online in the last five years.
Barton has offered classes to service men and women and their families through its Fort Riley campus for about 20 years and is more prominent than any other school’s satellite campus on post, Steinert reported.
The Fort Riley campus has been one of Barton’s fastest-growing entities, showing a 25 percent increase in credit-hour production compared to five years ago, and a 10 percent increase from last year.
College officials claim the continual growth of the satellite campus is good for Barton County taxpayers, as it offsets the mill levy by more than two mills. That trend should see an additional spike in next year’s numbers as more programs and courses are added.
OSHA Training, Hazardous Materials & Emergency Services Training Institute
Barton’s campus at Grandview Plaza saw a 3.5 cent enrollment increase from last year. Enrollment is expected to rise as the site looks to expand its Occupational Safety & Health Administration training options.
The campus is currently only considered an OSHA Outreach Training Site, which limits the OSHA courses that can be made available. Dean of Technical Education Bill Nash said a plan is in the works to become an authorized OSHA Training Institute, which would give Barton the freedom to offer any courses deemed necessary by OSHA throughout the state and beyond.
The Hazardous Materials and Emergency Services training options are made available across the state and are utilized by dozens of municipalities and state government organizations for training employees on emergency management and handling waste safely.
These services are also offered to the military at almost a dozen forts across the country, from Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley here in Kansas to Fort Knox, Ky. and other major military installations.