Enrollment growth continues into the new year

Barton Community College served 8,394 students in the fall semester of 2013, which is an increase of 272 students from the previous fall semester.

The most widely accepted metric to measure enrollment is Full Time Equivalency (FTE). This is calculated by taking the total credit hours provided and dividing by 15 credit hours per semester, which is the average course load for a full time student. This standard allows Barton to see how it’s doing relative to other colleges and past semesters.

Barton saw an increase of about 4.2 percent in FTE from fall 2012 to fall 2013.

For the first half of the reporting year, July 1 through December 31, 2013, Barton’s numbers were up 6.5 percent over the same time period in 2012.

Increasing enrollment has been one of the primary objectives of the current Barton Board of Trustees and administration, and so far things are looking up. It appears 2013-14 will be its sixth consecutive year of attracting new students.

“Growth in enrollment is a sign that our faculty and staff are dedicated to the mission and vision of the institution,” Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said at a campuswide meeting Wednesday morning. “We are in the minority of community colleges showing growth. The majority of community colleges nationwide are experiencing enrollment declines.”

Two-year public institutions collectively saw a drop in enrollment of 3.1 percent nationally, according to NCSResearchCenter.org.

Not only was Barton one of the few to show growth, it was ranked sixth in the nation for fastest-growing mid-sized community colleges from fall 2011 to fall 2012, according to Community College Week and data from the U.S. Department of Education.