Colleges in Springfield are experiencing fluctuating amounts of students enrolled in summer courses from past years due to several factors, including a better economy. KSMU's Taylor Brim has more.
To date, Missouri State University is the only higher learning institution in Springfield with an increase in student enrollment for the summer. On opening day of summer classes, there was a 4.8% increase in student head count from 2013. Andrew Wright, the Director of Admissions at Missouri State, attributes this to the growing catalog of online classes Missouri State provides.
“They see the opportunity to have that seamless integration by taking the course through us, online. But you also see students who are in the local area who have decided to stay in Springfield for the summer. They may be taking one seated class as well as an online class to better meet the needs of their schedule for work,” Wright said.
Unlike Missouri State, Drury University is facing lower numbers in summer enrollment with a decrease in credit hours taken. They have fallen from 8,858 credit hours taken in 2013 to 7,463 currently. Drury University declined to offer a comment on its summer enrollment numbers.
Another learning institution in Springfield, Ozarks Technical Community College, faces lower numbers from recent years but has seen an overall upward trend in the past decade. Since 2004, Ozarks Technical Community College, OTC, has doubled its summer enrollment from 2,489 students to over 4,540 this summer. OTC's summer enrollment population is 1/4th visiting students, which are students who are also enrolled at another university. Mark Miller, OTC’s Director of Communication, attributes the recent drop in summer enrollment to several factors.
“This was a low point for high school graduates in Missouri. Some of the snow days, especially in our more rural market, pushed the school year longer. Many students who were getting out towards the end of May didn’t want to turn around and start classes, or they couldn’t get their transcripts. And we have an improved economy. Improved economy generally means fewer people are seeking job training or more education,” Miller explains.
Evangel University’s figures fluctuate between gaining and losing around 15 students the past three years, with currently 317 students signed up for summer classes in 2014.