Fall Enrollment is Largest in Tri-County’s History
CONTACT: DR. RONNIE BOOTH, 646-1774
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 9/24/2008
(By Lisa Garrett)
PENDLETON --- Tri-County Technical College enrolled a record-breaking 5,728 students for fall semester, an almost 10 percent increase over last fall (5,223) and the largest enrollment in the history of the College.
Tri-County is the second fastest-growing College in the state’s system of 16 technical colleges. Since 2002, Tri-County has experienced a cumulative growth rate of 27% and is the fifth largest College in the System.
President Ronnie L. Booth believes making college accessible, available and affordable to residents across the tri-county region is a priority. Over the past couple of years, he has addressed the diverse needs of individuals by opening branch campuses in Anderson and Seneca and by expanding online and evening offerings – in short, finding new and different ways to meet individuals’ needs and schedules.
More and more people are choosing Tri-County for their educational needs because "given these tight economic times, students and parents can get two years of college at a significantly reduced rate," said Dr. Booth. Tri-County's tuition is $1,458 per semester for full-time students, but with a lottery tuition scholarship, valued at $900 for eligible full-time students, a student would pay a balance of only $558 for a semester.
Online class numbers have grown more than 40 percent since 2002. Distance learning enrollment is 44 percent higher for fall of 2007 than 2006. Online courses can be the answer for students battling time constraints and schedule conflicts that can often hinder completing their degree.
The College expanded the evening programs for associate degree Nursing and Veterinary technology majors, in addition to offering the L.P.N. diploma program at the Oconee campus, giving area students twice-a-year entry into the Tri-County Technical College L.P.N. curriculum.
An L.P.N. to Professor grant from The Duke Endowment allowed Tri-County to add nursing faculty members and one Health Education Division-dedicated admissions counselor. The additional faculty allowed Tri-County to launch a January admission for the associate degree Nursing program, giving students more educational flexibility. “Now we have two graduating classes (May and December) with 45 – 50 per class, therefore increasing our graduates by 100 percent,” Dr. Booth said.
He also noted expanding numbers of enrollments in the Gateway to College and Bridge to Clemson programs.
Now in its third year, the Bridge to Clemson program enrolled 312 freshmen from all over the United States. This is a 23.8 percent increase over last year. This invitation-only program blends the traditional academic experience at Tri-County with the social and cultural experiences of being a Clemson University student. The program is for recent high school students who narrowly missed admission to Clemson because of limited space and high demand.
“The goal for our Bridge to Clemson initiative is to transfer 70 percent to Clemson University,” said Dr. Booth. In the first class in fall term 2006, 164 or 71 percent transferred to Clemson and the following fall, an additional 12 students were eligible to transfer later that academic year, for a total of 76 percent. Others chose to remain at Tri-County.
Dual enrollment is up, with 423 students this year as compared to 414 last fall. These classes, taught at high schools and at the Oconee campus, are convenient for high school students, who choose to get a head start on college through a variety of general education classes.
The Anderson and Oconee campuses serve several of the College’s goals by bringing its services closer to residents, increasing community involvement, and expanding educational opportunities. Both offer classes for those residents who want to save time while pursuing a degree in the evening.
“We appeal to those looking for a technical degree. We're also a lead-in for those students planning to go the university transfer route and continue their studies at a four-year college or university. We serve as a buffer for the transition to a larger college,” he said.
Dr. Booth also attributes the surge in enrollment to tuition benefits available through the lottery and the growing number of students receiving Pell grants and LIFE Scholarships.
“Large percentages of our students work full- or part time. Another force on the campus is the non-traditional students, persons who are 30 years of age or older who are furthering their education for reasons ranging from job promotions to fulfilling the dream of a college degree after their children have completed school. Tri-County offers to meet the needs of a lot of people," he said.